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Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

Statistical analysis: Projecting how may games the Jazz will win

By Jared Bray, For the Deseret News

Published: Fri, Aug. 1 2:55 p.m. MDT

 Nearly 20 percent of the projected 34 wins come from Derrick Favors, who led Utah in Win Shares last season with 5.1. His team-high 6.3 would be a career-high.

Nearly 20 percent of the projected 34 wins come from Derrick Favors, who led Utah in Win Shares last season with 5.1. His team-high 6.3 would be a career-high.

(Tom Smart, Deseret News)

The Utah Jazz will win 34 games this year — nine more than in 2013-14.

That’s according to a projection formula based on Win Shares.

Win Shares is an all-encompassing statistic that takes a player’s on-court value and translates it into “wins.” Accordingly, a basketball team that nets about 25 combined Win Shares from its players, like the Jazz did last season, will win about 25 games.

To predict the number of Win Shares each Jazzman will produce this year, I created a projection formula that takes into account three year’s worth of Basketball-Reference’s Win Shares per 48 Minutes (WS/48) stat, an aging curve and estimated minutes (19,680 total minutes — 82 games x 5 players x 48 minutes per game — were divvied up among the 13 players).

In the case of Utah’s rotation players without three years of experience, I used 2013-14’s WS/48 as a baseline before applying the aging curve. Rookies (i.e., Dante Exum and Rodney Hood) were given the league-average WS/48 of 0.0994 which was subsequently adjusted based on draft position.

Keep in mind that these projections are based on the Win Shares formula and are just for fun.

Projected win shares | Create Infographics

Analysis

Though it won’t be good enough for a playoff spot, a 34-48 record would be a huge step forward for the Jazz, who posted the worst record in the Western Conference (25-57) last season.

Nearly 20 percent of the projected 34 wins come from Derrick Favors, who led Utah in Win Shares last season with 5.1. His team-high 6.3 would be a career-high.

Also encouraging is Gordon Hayward’s forecast. After his Win Shares dropped from 5.4 in 2012-13 to 3.6 last year, the formula estimated that he’ll bounce back this season with 4.9.

Again, these projections are meant to be fun. There are a number of variables that could affect how the Jazz truly perform, particularly new head coach Quin Snyder.

Perhaps he’ll have an even better formula for wins.

Jared Bray is a contributing writer for the Deseret News. He also reports in English and Tagalog (a language he learned while serving a two-year church mission in the Philippines) for Balitang America, a nightly news program of The Filipino Channel.

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1. CJ Miles
Dallas, TX,
Aug. 1, 2014

Hmmmmmm.....If the Jazz are counting on Favors for wins, it's going to be a long season. And the MAX money guy, Hayward, can't play 4 quality quarters in any one game. Still, let's go with the 34 wins. It's possible if Hood can get on the court and Dante grows into an NBA player by all-star break. Kanter decides to actually play basketball on both ends and Burke learns to play 70% defense. On second thought, its going to be a long season.

2. Americanvet
Ivins, UT,
Aug. 1, 2014

I think 34 wins would be a good season for the Jazz. They're still a ways away from making the playoffs but I enjoy watching the young guys improve and I'm excited to see what coach Snyder brings to the team. A young team really needs a lot of fan support so I'm hoping Jazz fans will be patient and be willing to support these guys. They want to win more than we do and hopefully when they're playing at ESA we can be the 6th man and keep their spirits high. Keep the faith Jazz fans.

3. Capsaicin
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 1, 2014

This is an easy one. 15-25. If they are any better than last season I will be utterly shocked. Even with a new un-proven collegiately-shamed coach. Even with a top draft pick. They still have a bunch of over-paid under performing players. Seriously unbelievable to be paying a max contract to Gordon Hayward. He's not good enough.

4. rvalens2
Burley, ID,
Aug. 1, 2014

@Capsaicin

Be prepared to be shocked. The Jazz will win 37 games this season and lose 8-10 games by less than five points.

How is that possible?

Better coach, better team, with players who are going to improve a lot by the end of the season. Unfortunately, that means they will still finish out of the playoffs again, but a marked improvement will be seen in the team.

It's going to be a lot more fun to watch the Jazz play this season.

5. rvalens2
Burley, ID,
Aug. 1, 2014

I thought I would add that the main reason I believe the Jazz will improve is because Coach Snyder is a good coach. Unless forced by injuries or illness, I expect to see no more bad lineups or poor coaching.

How can I tell if Quin Snyder is a good coach without having watched him do it? Two reasons:

1. I researched his background on the internet and read what his former players have said about him.

2. Paul Millsap, a man whose opinion I trust, was bummed out that Coach Snyder was leaving the Hawks and gave him high praise for knowing what he is doing.

I've also read and listened to what Snyder has said in the past. It's obvious (at least to me) that he understands the game of basketball. He may not yet have the team he needs to go deep into the playoffs, but I have no doubts about the man's ability to coach.

The rest of what happens this upcoming season is going to be up to the players. 37 wins or bust.