Utah Jazz: Buying or selling 3 players’ rankings in ESPN’s top 100

Utah Jazz (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports) /

If you’ve been paying attention to the J-Notes, you may have heard this refrain before: the Utah Jazz are one of the deepest teams in the National Basketball Association. This is an absolute truth that bears repeating, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (OK, maybe you’ve got to be a pretty diehard Jazz fan to accept that equivalency).

Nonetheless, it remains a fact. The Utah Jazz boast a quality starter at every position, as well as the NBA’s top-2 candidates for the 2020-21 Sixth Man of the Year award in Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles. Even the backend of this rotation is filled-out with solid NBA contributors like newcomers Rudy Gay, Eric Paschall and Hassan Whiteside.

Recently, ESPN honored the Utah Jazz by placing three of their players in the 100-51 portion of their annual ranking of their top 100 players in the NBA. For any team in the NBA to boast more than three top-100 players is quite an accomplishment, but did ESPN do right by each respective Jazzman?

To answer that question, we’ll be comparing the statistical profiles of each member of the Utah Jazz to have cracked ESPN’s list to-date to the profiles of the two players listed directly ahead of them. We’ll be drawing comparisons between players primarily on the basis of Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and Value Over Replacement Player (VORP), but will also be taking more subjective variables into account like role and skillset.

For example, when comparing a 3-and-D wing on a championship team to a low-efficiency scorer on a lottery squad, it may be expected that the latter would outproduce the former in the advanced metrics department. That doesn’t mean they’re a better player: it simply means they are in a situation wherein they are more likely to generate numbers.

With those caveats established, we’ll buy or sell the placements of the 3 members of the Utah Jazz who have appeared on ESPN’s top 100 list to-date.