With Marvin Williams’ back acting up, the Jazz will likely play Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter together more over the next few games. Marvin has an MRI Monday morning and we will know more at that point on how long he will be unavailable.
This is a good time for Favors and Kanter to play together. Five of Utah’s next seven opponents play two legitimate bigs—the Clippers, Spurs, Grizzlies (twice) and Pistons.
The opening portion of the year was very tough for the Jazz when Kanter and Favors together. When Marvin finally got healthy, the Jazz inserted him into the starting lineup and have played Jeremy Evans as the backup PF since separating Favors and Kanter.
For the season, Kanter and Favors have played 503 minutes together. In those 503 minutes the Jazz have an offensive rating of 92.7 points per 100 possessions. This is by far the worst of any of Utah’s 30 most-used playing pairs, and only eight pairs are under 100 points per possession. This is a continuation of last season, when the Jazz struggled to score with both Kanter and Favors on the floor.
Last year, with Kanter and Favors on the floor, the Jazz were great defensively. That has not been the case this season. Instead, the Jazz are allowing 113.4 points per 100 possessions with both of them on the floor. Only the tandems of Kanter and Burks (at 114.2) and Kanter and Marvin (at 116.5) are worse.
Most of these minutes happened early in the season when the Jazz were without Trey and Marvin and were outmatched every night.
Since November 24, when Trey entered the starting lineup, Favors and Kanter have played 200 minutes together. In those 200 minutes, Utah’s offensive rating is 98.7 (an improvement) but the defensive rating is still an abysmal 115.5. This is the second worst defensive pair (Marvin and Kanter are at 115.9) of the 60 most-used pairs since November 24.
Over those 200 minutes, opponents’ EFG% has been 53.7 (league average is 50, team average is 50.7). The Jazz have been a better offensive rebounding team, grabbing 27.7% of the offensive rebounds (team average is 24.8%). However, on the defensive glass they have grabbed 73.6%—below the team average of 74.8%. Finally, the offense has been very turnover prone, turning it over 16.9% of its possessions, higher than any tandem that doesn’t include Rudy Gobert.
So far this season the data questions whether or not Kanter and Favors can play together. The next stretch of games is their chance to prove otherwise.