2015-2016 Bakersfield Jam Roundup — Week 4


Editor’s note: Last year, we started off a new weekly roundup of all things Bakersfield Jam. Each weekend, after the Bakersfield Jam play, we will break down the week, assess the top performers and break down some of the significant numbers from the past outings.

For the 2015-16 Bakersfield Jam Week 3 roundup, click here.

Last week: Bakersfield Jam (4-5) vs. D-Fenders (W), D-Fenders (W)

Coming into the week, things did not look good for the Bakersfield Jam. The team had dropped two games in a row and was headed for a showdown with a Los Angeles D-fenders squad that (1) had already beaten the Jam and (2) was off to a great start, winning six of its first eight games.

Instead the Jam prevailed, in both cases, winning by five or less points. It was a sharp contrast from where the team was earlier in the year, not to mention to where the Suns have been over the last few games. While the Jam did fall apart in the fourth for a bit in the second game, clutch play was a huge factor. In both games, down the stretch the team was in danger of falling; in both cases, the team won.

Oh yeah, and there was also the highlight of the season… if you’re into that sort of thing…

Overall, the Jam have won four of their last six games, and are starting to look like the team they were last year, albeit with new players and a new coach. And with the schedule looking up, as the Jam are set to take on the last place teams in the D-League’s Pacific and Southwest Divisions, there’s no reason the team shouldn’t finish next week above .500.

Oh, and one more thing happened: LeBron James, who Bakersfield Jam head coach Chris Jent helped as a shooting coach back in Cleveland, shouted out his former coach in an interview with Cleveland.com.

“I had a shooting coach years back in Chris Jent that helped my shot out a lot when he was here as an assistant coach,” James said to the publication. “From there on I just kept the same routine. He helped me out a lot.”

Jent was also interviewed in the article, which can be read in full here.

Top performance:

In the Bakersfield Jam’s second game against the D-fenders, Askia Booker channeled his inner James Harden, scoring 25 points on just eight field goal attempts. Booker knocked down 12-of-13 shots at the line, adding five rebounds in what was his best game of the year.

However, there really wasn’t one huge performance in either game that led the way; rather, the team saw different players step up and be solid, something that was more than enough for the Bakersfield Jam to notch a couple of victories.

In the team’s first game, three different players scored 21-or-more points, while three different players had at least 10 assists and rebounds combined. Xavier Munford was probably the game’s top performer, with 21 points and 10 assists, but all around there were performances that backed him up.

Really, the only player that struggled was Deonte Burton, but he was really strong in the team’s second game, with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and a team-high plus/minus of +15.

Burton even got the assist on the Jam’s go-ahead basket with 30 seconds left, as Terrico White knocked down a shot from the outside.

And finally, even though he wasn’t necessarily stellar, Earl Clark — likely the best prospect on the team — had a fine week, posting 22.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. His shooting percentage took a pretty notable dip, as he shot right around 40.5 percent from the floor, but it didn’t matter, as the team thrived in the most important statistical category: wins.

Three numbers to note:

0 — The number of games the Bakersfield Jam have played with a record above .500. Last year, it took the team five games to get to an above-.500 mark, and the Jam would end up spending most of their time above .500, with a final record of 34-16.

22.1 — The number of points per game Earl Clark is averaging this year, good enough for seventh in the D-League. Three of the six players ahead of him on the list average more minutes per game, while two of the six average more field goal attempts.

37.7 — With head coach Chris Jent, a shooting wizard in his own right, the Jam are up to fourth in the D-League in three-point percentage. Last year, the team shot 34.9 percent from three, which ranked 12th in the D-League.

Moving forward:

The Bakersfield Jam are probably going to get a few more wins this week, as things continue to move in the right direction. It’ll be interesting to see if the Suns send anyone down as the D-League Showcase draws nearer and nearer, but that’s pure speculation at this point.

Next: Bakersfield Jam Roundup — Week 3

As far as specifics are concerned, the Jam will take on the Oklahoma City Blue to start off the week. Right now the Blue are just 1-8 in the year, and they’re 0-8 in conference. The team’s next three games after that (two this week, one the next) will be against the 3-8 Idaho Stampede. The Jam beat the Stampede by 19 points earlier this year.