Thoughts 1/19/2020: Royce O’Neale locks down a contract through 2024, Rudy locks down the paint, Jazz lock down a top-10 offense and defense

It’s time for celebration! I was sure Royce O’Neale was going to forego his extension, continue playing into the off-season, and ink a 14+ million dollar deal, whether with the Jazz or not. Jazz got him for 9 million today.

Not many people know who Royce O’Neale is. He’s not flashy, he’s not an insanely good three point shooter nor a complete, bar-none, lockdown 1-on-1 defender. He doesn’t have any real extremes in his game, but he is the quintessential 3-and-D role player. Let’s illustrate his value by showing off some players’ 3-year D-PIPM compared to their 3-year three-point percentage.

Royce seems to be the perfect blend of “three” and “D”. We’ll want him to start shooting more going forward, but he’s putting very real value on the court on both ends. The PIPM career projection tool deems him worth 68 million dollars (17 / year) over the next 4 years. Jazz found a 47% off discount coupon on Royce sitting on the shelf. That’s tremendous value. One more thing: he almost always guards the opposition’s best offensive player. He’s versatile enough to guard both the Giannis Antetokounmpo’s and the Kyrie Irving’s. That’s some real value.

Rudy Gobert had one of the better games of his career last night against Sacramento. Normally you can’t see the impact he has with just the box score, but you definitely could get a taste last night. He put up 28p/15r/3b/2s on 9/11 shooting and 10/11(!!) from the line. He was a plus 32 in 34 minutes on the court, and the Jazz lost the 14 minutes with him off by 10. I’m sure we’ve all seen this video but it seems to be making the rounds again. Look at how many times the Nets just ‘nope, that’s Rudy Gobert’ out of the paint.

Rudy is once again top-2 in D-PIPM. And even though RPM’s formula was completely revamped – likely for the worst – he lands 8th there too. If the Jazz keep winning he should remain in the DPOY conversation, he should continue to creep into MVP conversations, and he should abso-freakin-lutely be an all star.

Now the Jazz are 8th in defensive rating and 8th in offensive rating. Their offense has been scorching hot for some time now, while their defense has been… Average.

Since I said this, the Jazz have had the 5th best offense in the league and the 14th best defense. It gets to be a little concerning when you drop a game to the Pelicans because you can’t stop Ingram from getting to his spots. When I said this, the Jazz had the best defense in the league, and the 21st best offense. And now, since December 10th, Utah’s got the best offense in the league, a relative ORtg of +9.1, and the 7th best defense in the league, a relative DRtg of -2.5. That is what we can hope for from peak Jazz against a bad schedule. Let’s take a look at their tiered wins and games above .500 so far:Jazz have got 3 tier 1 games before the All Star Break. Valuable games to make up where they’ve lost ground so far.