By Ben "Napoleon" Wilson
The Utah Jazz begin the first test in a difficult road-to-home back-to-back weekend. Their testing gets underway in Los Angeles tonight and ends tomorrow when they host Indiana.
The Jazz are on a roll, winners of 8 of their last 10. All 8 wins have come in January. Well, it's good that January has been well to the Jazz because the end of December had not been kind. The Jazz posted 7 losses in 9 games in the second half of December. 6 of those 9 games were road games.
In January the only 4 Jazz players averaging over 25 minutes are Big Al, Millsap, Hayward, and Foye. By no coincidence, those 4 players are also leading the Jazz offensively. 1320 KFAN listeners might remember the offensive efficiency rating system that we used on OC on Sports. The NOR (Napoleon Offensive Rating) is calculated by taking points per game (PPG) and multiplying with the points per shot (PPS). Efficint players will score over one point for every shot they take. This benefits guys who get to the free throw line because they can increase their point total without being charged a shot attempt. It also benefits 3 point shooters because their attempt is more valuable. Efficient big men will benefit because they take high percentage shots at the rim. After you take (PPS X PPG) you will add + (ASSISTS X 1.5) Assists get you either 2 or 3 points so they are very valuable to an efficient offense. Offensive boards get you another attempt at an offensive score and turnovers take away a chance so to finish you add + O REB and - TO. So the equation is:
NOR= (PPG X PPS) + (ASSISTS X 1.5) + O REB - TO
|Utah Jazz||PPG||PPS||Assist||O REB||TO||min||NOR||NOR/min||
It comes as no surprise that Gordon Haward has a NOR that is off the charts. A 70 NOR is pretty decent, 80, good, 90 excellent, and 100 + Superstar. To see Gordon Hayward rank right below Superstar effenciency should make you giddy for what's to come with this young fenom! Given, these numbers are just January numbers, but if the Kid can keep this kind of production rolling the Jazz will continue rolling.
Look to see Gordon Hayward take it to Kobe tonight as the Jazz travel to see the former Bane of their existence. The Jazz don't just have Gordon Hayward, they have a whole team of players who have bought into the concept of balanced numbers and swing-swing passing to the post. They are winners of 4 straight and should make it 5 in a row tonight as the Lakers have gone the opposite direction of the Jazz. Fighting between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard over who should be the number one option is rumored to have erupted in the Lakers locker room.
The Lakers are losers of 4 in a row and 10 out of their last 12. But just because the Jazz are surging the Lakers slumping is no reason to pencil this one in for the Jazz. They will need to bring better finishes as they have struggled to win a fourth quarter in a while. Recent games have seen the Jazz allow teams at the end of road swings have better 4th quarter legs than the well rested Jazz at home. If the Jazz continue to lose 4th quarters they will start losing games.
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