Utah has had a great big man suit up in a Jazz uniform for as long as I can remember. Mark Eaton, Karl Malone, Carlos Boozer (when he actually played), Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson have all been above average big men while they were in a Jazz uniform. The Jazz made a trade for a very young and talented Derrick Favors 2 seasons ago and he looks to have the potential to be great. The question is how great? Can Favors turn into a dominate big man? Will he be a solid starter? Or will he simply be a role player?
Derrick Favors played his High School basketball for South Atlanta High School. He led his team to a state championship and was named to the McDonalds All-American Team. Going into college he was rated as the #1 prospect in the country by Scout.com and #2 by ESPNU100. Derrick decided to join Georgia Tech University where he and the rest of the Yellow Jackets posted a 23-13 record. They made it to the championship game of the 2010 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament and were a #10 seed going into the NCAA tournament. In their first round game they upset #7 Oklahoma State but were stopped in the second round by #2 seed Ohio State. Derrick decided to join the NBA draft after just 1 year of college. He was drafted #3 overall by the New Jersey Nets and later that season traded to the Jazz along with Devin Harris and draft picks for Deron Williams.
In Derrick’s first season he averaged 19.7 minutes per game, 6.8 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game. Per 36 minutes that would be an average of 12.5 points and 9.7 rebounds for his rookie season. Last season with the Jazz, Derrick posted 21.2 minutes per game, 8.8 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game. That would translate to 14.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per 36 minutes. The numbers show that he is capable of producing if he gets more minutes but that doesn’t mean he will. It’s hard to say if a player can produce at a high rate for a whole game based on these numbers. The only thing I could come up with to be fair was to go through all 66 games the Jazz played last season and find the games Derrick Favors played 25 min or more and post his stats for those games.
Derrick played in a total of 18 games last season where he played 25 min or more. In those 18 games he averaged 30.1 minutes per game, 12.1 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game. He also played in 3 playoff games that he played over 25 minutes. In the 3 playoff games he averaged 31.7 minutes per game, 12.7 points per game and 9.7 rebounds per game. Not too bad for a 20 year old in his second season. Those number should increase if he gets that much playing time on a consistent basis and I think the Jazz should give those minutes to him.
It is speculated by many people throughout the NBA that a player makes the most progression in their 3rd year in the NBA. This season will also have a full training camp and preseason unlike last year due to the lockout. I also expect Favors to start in this upcoming season due to his good play at the end of the season and in the playoffs. Favors recently said he is ready for more playing time and I personally see no reason why the Jazz shouldn’t grant him more time on the floor. For Favors to reach his full potential he needs playing time, Coach Corbin better find minutes for him if they want him to turn into the player they are hoping for.
Now to try to answer the question I am proposing about how good Derrick Favors will be. All signs show that he has a ton of potential and could be a very good player in the NBA for many seasons. It’s hard to judge a player who is so young and is only in his third season. I’m not going to be a Jazz fan who says “Derrick Favors will be the most dominate player in the league!” or “Derrick Favors is the next Dwight Howard!” because honestly nobody knows. What I will say is Derrick Favors is a great young player with a huge up side. I am anxious, as should everyone else be, to see the player that Favors will be in a few season from now. Will he be a superstar in the NBA or will he be a disappointment? Only time will tell.