‘Man Games Lost’ Report Indicates Healthy Utah Jazz Would’ve Logged 60 Wins

Dec 16, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood (5) reacts to an apparent injury during the first quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 16, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood (5) reacts to an apparent injury during the first quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports /

According to metrics released by ManGamesLost.com, the Utah Jazz would have been a 60-win team had they stayed healthy this season.

What a finish to the NBA season for the Utah Jazz. Caveats of resting players and lack of motivation aside, the fact that the Jazz ended 2016-17 with back-to-back wins over the two best teams in the league was exhilarating. Utah will now go into the playoffs as the fifth seed with a 51-31 record, an 11-game improvement over last season.

And while that improvement is undoubtedly solid, perhaps what’s even more impressive about it is that the Jazz did so with a ridiculous amount of injuries on the season. Utah’s projected starters – George Hill, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert – logged just 14 regular season games together, in which the team went 12-2 including last night’s victory.

Therefore, it’s no stretch whatsoever to say that if Utah had been healthy all year long, that formidable 51-31 record (which interestingly enough happens to be identical to that of the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers) would have been even higher.

In fact, according to recently released metrics from ‘Man Games Lost’ – an analytics site that tracks the effects that injuries have on their respective teams – Utah came in at the top of the list for the most wins lost this season due to injury.

And, as you can see in the tweet below, injuries resulted in the Jazz missing out on nine victories this season – the exact amount it would have taken for them to finish as a 60-win team.

Now, I don’t mean to get too greedy here given that if someone had told me last summer the Jazz would finish the season with 51 wins, I would have been beyond thrilled. But seeing what a healthy squad has been capable of this season, including in the majority of last night’s victory, it’s hard not to speculate about just how great of heights Utah could have reached without all the injuries.

For a little perspective, 60 wins would have put them in third place in the West this season, a mere one game behind the San Antonio Spurs. Furthermore, the Jazz have only logged three 60-win seasons in franchise history – in 1994-95 (60 wins), 1996-97 (64 wins) and 1997-98 (62 wins). The Jazz went to the Western Conference Finals in the first of those seasons and the NBA Finals in the final two.


Thus achieving that level of regular season success this year would have been a big deal. Nevertheless, although injuries certainly hindered that, hopes are high that Utah can arrive and remain healthy for the postseason and thus play like a 60-win team in the playoffs.

Of course several Jazz players missed significant time throughout the year, but it’s no surprise that according to ‘Man Games Lost’ the one whose absence had the biggest negative impact was George Hill. In fact, according to a report released on April 9th, George Hill was second in the league in injury impact on his team as his games missed due to injury led to 3.7 Jazz wins lost, trailing only Kevin Durant (3.8).

This data is certainly backed up by the eye test as well as the Jazz often looked out of sync and significantly less cohesive on offense with their starting point guard out of action. Luckily Hill looked solid in Utah’s final two games of the regular season so hopefully he indeed is back in full swing and will be in the ultra-efficient mode that we saw out of him in the season’s early going.

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The Jazz will certainly need that to be the case, as well as have Derrick Favors and Rodney Hood firing on all cylinders if they hope to arise victorious against a tough Clippers team. Utah has certainly had flashes where they’ve looked like a 60-win team and had they remained healthy they could have very well been that. And as formidable as the Clippers have been this season, it would be quite realistic to expect them to struggle against a team of that caliber.

The first game of the series will take place on Saturday at 8:30 pm MT at the Staples Center where Utah will hope to steal a game to earn back home court advantage moving forward. With any luck, a healthy squad with 60-win potential will be the one that shows up to play.