Utah Jazz: New lineup can score, but defending a struggle
Jazz notes • The starting five of all young players put up way more points, but allow way more too.
Published: April 15, 2014 05:32PM
Updated: April 15, 2014 10:11PM

It took most of a season, but the Jazz have finally given their youth movement significant minutes together over the last three games.

The lineup of Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter had only played 74 minutes together before last week. Over the past three contests, they’ve seen 48 more minutes as a unit.

And while the group is still waiting for their first win as a starting five, rookie point guard Burke said he’s seeing some promise.

“I think we’ve been playing relatively well until the end of games,” he said. “We just have to finish out games. I think we’re right there in them. I like it; I think we all enjoy the new lineup.”

So far, this starting group has shown more offensive firepower than the lineup than its predecessor. With the insertion of Kanter and more recently Burks, Jazz starters have an offensive rating of 118 points per 100 possessions. The lineup of Burke, Hayward, Favors, Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams had an offensive rating of 107.1.

Defensively, however, the youngsters have struggled mightily.

That unit is giving up 126.1 points per 100 possessions — 17.5 points worse than the lineup with Jefferson and Williams.

The Jazz will have one more shot at a win on Wednesday, when they close out the season in Minnesota.

For Burke, the new lineup has shown enough promise to keep him positive about the future.

“It’s a disappointing season for us,” he said. “Obviously we wanted to win more games. But we’re a young team that has a promising future. We look forward to having a much better season next year.”

Is Hayward ‘the guy’?

Hayward has struggled at times this season, shouldered with the responsibility of leading the rebuilding Jazz. But after Monday’s loss to the Lakers, Hayward remained confident about his abilities to lead a franchise.

“I learned that I can be the guy,” he said. “Just have to be more consistent. That’s kind of the theme for our whole team. We’ve seen potential out of everybody.

“It’s just inconsistency that gets you. Guys that do it every single night, those are the All-Stars. You can’t be good one game and take four game off and come back with another strong one. It has to be every night.”