INSIDER – Big man playing pairs tell a lot about Jazz season

Throughout the year I have been looking at playing pairs to see what we could learn about who works well together and who doesn’t. I caution you on some of these numbers because there is a ton of statistical noise in these numbers.

I thought it would be interesting to see what has been working recently and compare it to the season. I choose the day Mo Williams returned. Mo has been back for 19 games.

Kanter played almost none with Jefferson and Millsap before the injury in this span.

Favors and Millsap have been the best at +3.3. The defensive rebounding has been unreal at 78.6%. They have played very slow.

Favors and Kanter were even. They played 104 minutes together. The defense has been terrific at 99.6 pts allowed per 100 possessions as they have been all year. The offense has been very poor at 100.1 despite an outlier offensive rebounding rate of 40.2%.

Favors and Jefferson who had a tough time defending earlier this year have been very good defensively over the last 221 minutes but now they are having a very difficult time scoring. An offensive rating of 99.1 per 100 possessions.

Millsap and Jefferson are still struggling. They are rolling offensively over the last 351 minutes together scoring at 108.2 pts per 100 possessions but defensively when the two of them are on the floor the Jazz have been close to awful. The Jazz are allowing 112.6 pts per 100 possessions when they are both on the floor. This is not helped by being on the floor with Mo and Randy as a guard combo.


For the season the best playing pair has been Millsap and Kanter but they have only played 169 minutes together this season. They have an outlier for offensive rebounding rate of 44% that is driving much of the success. However, the defensive rate of 93.6 is fantastic.

Jefferson and Favors are -6.5 in efficiency differential for the season (offensive efficiency – defensive efficiency). For the season the defensive rating is 108.8 which would put the Jazz near last in the NBA. Offensively they have only been ok at 102.3 and recently have really struggled.

Millsap and Favors have been a stronger combo for the season at +4.4 per 100 possessions .

For the season Jefferson and Millsap at -2.4 with a hard time defending at 108.1 rate.

Kanter and Favors were a +1 they struggled offensively at 99.4 but defensively were good enough to stay positive. However, so many of these minutes are against second teams that it is disturbing they were unable to be better offensively. They are a good defensive unit.

The line-up Corbin has avoided at all cost is Kanter and Jefferson and rightfully so in the limited 51 minutes they played together they were a -10 per 100 possesison

The variance from one section of the season with Jefferson and Favors to the other either shows how impossible it must be to manage this team or how flawed these numbers might be.

These numbers would say that Millsap and Favors should spend more time on the floor. Interestingly, Millsap has really struggled this year when Jefferson is off the floor. When Millsap is on the floor with Favors he shots 44% and Favors on the floor with Milsap he shots 42% so I have no idea how this line-up has worked. Millsap shots 51% when Jefferson is on the floor and 43% when he is off the floor.

If Corbin tried to get Millsap and Favors on the floor more the first step would be to bring Favors in the game for Jefferson instead of Millsap. However, this would catch him on the back side because when Jefferson re-enters he would be coupled with Kanter on the floor and that line-up is not successful.

In addition, you would likely lose the combo of Millsap and Kanter that has played sparingly but has been successful and would be entirely eliminated.

If the Jazz had started Favors and Jefferson the numbers say that line-up was never successful. The next sub could have been Millsap for Jefferson and then brought Kanter for Jefferson to create the Kanter Millsap line-up and time for Millsap and Jefferson but you still get caught in a Jefferson Kanter combo by the end and your starting line-up of Favors and Jefferson has struggled woese than Millsap and Jefferson.

Not sure I have an answer here.