Staturday: Jarrett Jack and Jerryd Bayless

So, I'm about to defend Jarrett Jack. Wish me luck.

 

Jerryd Bayless was a New Orleans Hornet for exactly four weeks. 

In those four weeks, he turned the ball once almost every four possessions, played exceptionally poor defense, missed almost two shots for every made one, and didn't get to the line often enough to offset all those negatives. As a result, his 86 points created per 100 possessions was one of the lowest marks in the NBA. In short, he was terrible. We cringed every time he touched the ball, even though we knew he'd been good in the past and realized he could be good in the future.

Jerryd Bayless has been a Toronto Raptor for exactly two weeks.

If the early indications mean anything, that future is now. As a Raptor, Bayless has cut his turnovers down by 8%, has passed the ball just as well as he did in NOLA, has more than doubled his free throw rate, and has increased both his effective field goal and true shooting percentages by more than 20%. As a result, his 128 points created per possessions is among the best marks in the league (Chris Paul is at 125). In short, he's been awesome. 

But that's exactly the thing. The early indications don't mean anything.

If you take a look at Jarrett Jack's and Jerryd Bayless' performances with their new teams, as measured by an overall statistical system, the results are ghastly. In Toronto, Bayless has posted a 22.9 PER to Jack's 4.3 PER in New Orleans. Bayless has that shiny 128 offensive rating, juxtaposed sharply with Jack's 81 offensive rating (which is even worse than Bayless' performance in New Orleans).

But it's equally important to look at the individual components of game play that lead to those overarching numbers.

Jack and Bayless haven't been remarkably different in terms of creating shots for teammates or turning the ball over. Jack has turned the ball over 16.4% of the time to Bayless' 15.2%, and Bayless' 30% assist rate is certainly better than Jack's 20% rate. But neither of those values are radically dissimilar. The real reason for the gulf in their performances is shooting. 

Jerryd Bayless

eFG%

TS%

3P%

FT/36 min.

Toronto

58

66

56

9.5

Career

43

52

31

6.3

Floor percentages are perhaps less susceptible to major year-to-year fluctuations than any other statistic. A young player can certainly make strides forward, but even that is largely overstated.

Hornet fans are familiar with the stories of Chris Paul's three point ability and David West's 17-foot shot. In reality, the gradual development of each of those shots is overrated. Chris Paul shot 35% from three as a sophomore, already a very decent mark. Counting backwards from 2009-2010 to 2004-2005 (DX's sophomore year), here are David West's FG% from 16-23 feet: 45%, 42%, 45%, 43%, 48%, 43%. I don't have data for his rookie season, but suffice it to say, his jumper developed far earlier in his career than most people give him credit for. 

The overall point is this: don't be fooled by Bayless' shooting touch so far. Through 2000+ NBA minutes, Bayless barely scraped 30% from three. So that 56% mark in 72 minutes in Toronto is definitely coming down. All of his shooting numbers will be coming down. They're wildly unsustainable. The odds that Jerryd Bayless has suddenly become an exceptionally efficient scorer from the field are very, very low. Check back in 50 games, and the low efficiency, high volume scorer will have re-emerged.

And Bayless' increased PER and ORtg have been almost entirely based on those improved shooting figures. I say "almost," and you'll laugh when I tell you what else it's been based on: defensive rebounding. Through four games with Toronto, JBay has posted a 25.4% defensive rebound rate, which would rank right between that of Emeka Okafor's and Tim Duncan's. So, again, while it's very likely that Bayless will go on to have a good year in Toronto, what he's doing now is certainly a mirage.

On the flip side, we have Jarrett Jack:

Jarrett Jack

eFG%

TS%

3P%

FT/36 min.

New Orleans

28

38

25

3.8

Career

50

56

35

3.8

Jack is essentially the exact opposite of Bayless. The vast majority of his overall offensive inefficiency can be attributed to terrible, terrible numbers from the field. The same lesson used for Bayless applies here; floor percentages do not fluctuate that much, year-to-year, especially when the player in question has logged over eleven thousand minutes. 

Let's not pretend like there aren't issues Jack needs to work out. He needs to get to the rim more often. He's been largely unable to create for teammates under the current offensive setup. Changes will need to be made in terms of way the second unit fundamentally approaches the offensive side of the ball. Jack's defense hasn't been stellar either.

But his shooting? It will recover. The odds of Jack shooting 25% for an entire season are similar to those of winning the lottery (a rather easy lottery maybe, but some sort of lottery nonetheless). And again, his overall poor offensive efficiency is almost entirely predicated on his inability to shoot the ball. The assists are a tick low, but the turnovers, rebounding, and foul drawing are all there.

Essentially, I'm not worrying about the Bayless-Jack debate. At all. I won't, even if this continues through the better part of December. The real Jarrett Jack should soon emerge. It's true we don't yet know who the "real" Jerryd Bayless actually is, but this is not him. 

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