Earlier this year, I wrote an article about the potential of this Utah team. In an attempt to answer the age-old question of ‘can the Jazz win without a “Superstar”?’, I analyzed the 2004 Detroit Pistons team that famously upset the first super team of this century.
League average PER (Player Efficiency Rating) is around 15, so I used that as a benchmark. In summary, the Pistons had more above average players (five) than the Lakers did that year (four). The Pistons were the more disciplined team and proved too much for the feuding, star-studded Lakers.
To revisit my thoughts from preseason, Utah doesn’t have the top-end talent of the NBA Elite. But they also don’t have the steep drop off of talent that those top-heavy teams deal with. The reason Quin Snyder is able to navigate the loss of the team’s best power forward in Derrick Favors is the talent level of the reserves in Trey Lyles and Boris Diaw.
Don’t forget that Favors statistically was the best and most stable player for the team last year. He led the team in PER and Win Shares per 48 minutes. (*Win Shares is an estimate of wins contributed to a player.)
Utah has the ability to match the numbers of the NBA elite with their depth. With the hope of Favors returning to his 21 PER from last year once his knee heals completely, Snyder could have the ability to have four of his starters playing at or above an All-Star level.
Aristotle said it best, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
But for now, the depth of the bench will allow for Favors and now Rodney Hood to heal up. It will also help to finally have a decent home stretch where the Jazz can enjoy the home crowd and their own beds.
This team is finally starting to round into shape, and the potential is exciting.