Utah Jazz: Rodney Hood keeping tabs on Gary Harris this season

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images /

Rodney Hood is up for an extension with the Utah Jazz, but it’s Gary Harris of the Denver Nuggets that could determine the final number.

The Utah Jazz have been in discussions with Rodney Hood in an effort to extend his rookie-scale contract since early September. A pen has yet to be put to paper with the Oct. 16 deadline fast approaching, but as others around the league secure their future, Hood’s figure is becoming clearer.

The 24-year-old is coming off a 2016-17 season in which he only played 59 games. His numbers took a dip compared to his 79-game, 2015-16 season, to average 12.7 points on 40 percent shooting. Largely due to the five fewer minutes he was playing as a result of niggling injuries, Hood couldn’t keep pace with the upward trajectory many had hoped for.

With his health seemingly in order and a handful of promising preseason performances under his belt, Hood looks set to break out.

It’s unknown what is stopping Hood or the Jazz from completing a deal, but with Gary Harris signing a four-year $84 million extension, the number on the negotiating table has found its floor.

The pair had similar 2016-17 seasons right down to the number of games played. Harris ended up with an extra four minutes per game with Hood in and out of the lineup all season. Unlike Harris, who sat out most of his games early in the season, Hood was constantly working towards full health before being forced to sit and start over.

Per Game Table
1Gary Harris2016-1722575631.35.611.2.502.420.558.586.7760.
2Rodney Hood2016-1724595527.04.611.3.408.371.440.494.7830.

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/10/2017.

If Hood and the Jazz don’t come to an agreement before Oct. 16, his 2017-18 numbers will be directly compared to those of Harris when he’s offered a contract in the summer of 2018.

What Hood has going in his favor is Gordon Hayward‘s departure. His workload will increase and should he be able to stay on the floor, so will his numbers.

Basketball-Reference has him scoring just under 17 points per game in their 2017-18 projections. Given his role on the team has effectively seen him become a professional scorer, how he scores those points will determine his next contract.

2017-18 Projection Table

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/11/2017.

Where Hood will struggle to mimic Harris is in his efficiency. The Jazz guard is forced to create more shots for himself with 48.2 percent of his made field goals in 2016-17 coming from a teammate’s assist. Harris, on the other hand, had 76.6 percent of his made field goals come courtesy of a teammate, including 29 percent from Nikola Jokic alone.

Before Harris signed his extension, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype.com thought a four-year, $72 million extension would be “reasonable” for Hood. That isn’t the case anymore. The Jazz will be under pressure to match, if not exceed, the contract the Denver Nuggets gave Harris – especially if Hood outperforms him.

Along with health and consistent court time, efficiency will be key for Hood this season. His role won’t allow him to match Harris’ 58.6 effective field goal percentage, but he can improve on his 49.4 percent mark in 2016-17.

Next: 30 reasons to be excited for the 2017-18 NBA season

It’s a big year for Hood that only grows in importance if he doesn’t sign the extension. If he’s playing for his next contract in 2017-18, he will be checking the box score of Nuggets games and keep tabs of Harris throughout the season.