BREAKDOWN – Al Jefferson Season in Review Part 6 – How Jazz were with Jefferson on the floor


This year the Jazz were better when Al Jefferson was on the floor. The unadjusted plus minus had the Jazz dramatically better offensively but less good defensively. Overall, when Jefferson was on the floor the Jazz were +1.68 per 48 minutes and when he was on the bench the Jazz were -5.03 per 48 minutes.

Under Basketballvalue’s metric the adjusted +/- was even better. Jefferson was a +8.59. Adjusted +/- is intended to adjust for both the teammates and the opponents on the floor over the course of the season. Jefferson ranks third on the roster behind Millsap and Favors.

Most of Al’s positive plus minus came from the following line-ups-

Harris, Hayward, Millsap, Favors, Jefferson: +51 in 65 minutes
Watson, Hayward, Howard, Millsap, Jefferson: +16 in 50 mins
Watson, CJ Miles, Hayward, Millsap, Jefferson: +17 in 40 mins
Tinsley, Hayward, Millsap, Favors, Jefferson: + 13 in 30 mins
Harris, Bell, CJ Miles, Millsap and Jefferson: +29 in 30 mins

This last line-up is interesting because it was amazing offensively. It is also worth noting not one of these line-ups has Favors and Jefferson together without Millsap

Al played with 5 groups of 5 for over 100 minutes this season. All 5 had a negative adjusted +/- and all 5 were outscored this season. Interestingly, my guess is only 1 of those has a chance to be back next year and that is the closing starting line-up of Harris, Hayward, Carroll, Millsap and Jefferson which was outscored when on the floor an terrible defensively at 115.16 pts per 100 possessions.

Putting that in perspective the worst defensive teams in the NBA last year were Charlotte (110.88) and New Jersey (109.5)

In two years it has become clear the Millsap/Jefferson combination can’t defend adequately. Does Favors presence help the Jazz defensively.

Going through all line-ups that played at least 5 minutes together here is how the Jazz performed based on who Jefferson was team with on the front line.

Yes, Favors helps the Jazz defensively. At 104.8 the Jazz are the same as Milwaukee defensively ranking them 17th in the NBA, a step up from 20th and 106.14 that Jazz were for the season but not into the elite.

What is interesting is that despite the defensive improvement with Favors the offensive drop was significant enough that the good offensive line-up and bad defensive line-up of Jefferson and Millsap performed at almost the exact same level. Once again, Tyrone had a good grasp on what was taking place.