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 (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles ESPN top 100 rating: 62

Finally, beloved Utah Jazz forward and Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Joe Ingles clocks in at 62 on ESPN’s annual ranking of the top 100 players in the NBA. Ingles is the type of do-it-all, smart decision maker whose value is difficult to capture statistically. That can make a player of his ilk difficult to rank among his peers.

That’s OK. ESPN tried to do it, and so nothing could stop us at the J-Notes from following suit.

Ranking one spot ahead of Ingles was Cleveland Cavaliers big man Jarrett Allen. In direct contrast to Ingles, Allen plays a brand of basketball that advanced stats are likely to smile upon as a rebound-gobbling, shot-swatting center. Accordingly, his PER of 19.8 is significantly higher than Ingles’ 15.9 mark. On the other hand, Ingles’ VORP of 2.5 paces Allen’s 1.1 mark by an almost-equal measure.

With the objective measurements failing to yield a measurable result, we’ll have to resort to subjective criteria. We’re giving Ingles the edge here, and not just because this is an Utah Jazz fan page. Ingles simply has a much deeper box of valuable NBA tools than the young Cavaliers center. He’s a high-end passer, elite floor-spacer, smart perimeter defender and overall penultimate glue guy. Meanwhile, Allen’s game is significantly more limited as a rim-running, non-spacing, non-switching big. He’s a quality rotation player, and at 23-years-old, has plenty of opportunity to improve. He still doesn’t merit a placement over the Utah Jazz forward heading into the 2021-22 season.

Another center places two spots ahead of Ingles at 60, but his skillset is significantly more refined than Allen’s. The Houston Rockets didn’t have a lot to celebrate last season, but Christian Wood’s development was certainly one cause. His PER of 20.0 easily exceeds Ingles’ mark, even if his 1.2 VORP lags behind.

Again, the two players being compared split the metrics test, but this time we are giving the player who isn’t a member of the Utah Jazz the nod. Wood is an agile, mobile combo-big, equally capable of running to the rim or popping out to three-point range (37.4% on 5.0 attempts per game last season) out of pick-and-roll sets. That diversity of offensive range alone could merit placement ahead of Ingles, and when you factor in his prominent rebounding contribution (9.6 per game in 2020-21) it becomes an obvious choice.

Next. Two positional battles to keep an eye on during Jazz training camp. dark

Wood is a player who received fringe All-Star consideration last season, while neither Allen or Ingles factored into that conversation. Still, it seems fair to say that ESPN may have slighted the Utah Jazz a little bit in this ranking as well, as Ingles should have earned a placement ahead of Jarrett Allen.

Verdict: Sell.