It truly is a thing of beauty. Russell Westbrook had just thrown down a nasty dunk to put the Thunder up by 8. Soon after there was a timeout and in comes Derrick Favors. The Thunder went without a dunk for a very long time. In fact, they looked scared to even go in to Mr. Favor’s Neighborhood (with all respect to David Robinson). The defensive presence that Favors brings to a game is scary. In my humble opinion it has the biggest influence on the game of any Jazz player. Opposing teams’ offensive philosophy does a complete 180 when he is on the court. More often than not they turn in to jump shooters. The parting seas given to players such as Westbrook that are created by Jefferson and Millsap completely disappear. Sure the opposition still goes after rebounds but when players drive to the hoop they know he is there. The Warriors learned that the hard way the other day. The Thunder are such a good team they were able to overcome that last night even though the Jazz overall defensive numbers were very impressive. Derrick Favors is an elite defensive player in this league.
To all Jazz fans worried about his offense, please don’t! It will be reliable enough. Plus if this guy was getting 35+ minutes per night, he would average around 16 points a game on put backs alone. The only person holding Derrick Favors back is Ty Corbin and even then Jazz management gave him a toxic roster full of free agents. Favors has been working extra hard in practice the past month or so and I believe this will carry over into the offseason. If he can add some extra strength and definition to his body a la Enes Kanter and work on his conditioning he will be a beast next season. When you add strength to an athlete like that, it’s exactly what he needs to take his game to the next level. The NBA has been put on notice. Let’s be prepared to watch an explosion next season.
Quick thoughts on the game last night. The loss was disappointing, no way around it. The Jazz could have done themselves a big favor with a win, but the Thunder had a lot to play for as well and are just the better team. Jazz really could have used Burks and Marvin last night. I like the Jazz match up with the Thunder. Truthfully the worst match up in the conference for the Jazz is the Nuggets so thank goodness they need not worry about them. I fully expect the Jazz to win out and finish with a 44-38 record, one win less than my 45-37 prediction. The Lakers will lose another game. The Jazz are still in control.