The number one favorite game for fans is to try to see who plays "like" a former player, what their "best case scenario is", or ultimately -- who they are a poor man's version of. It really is unavoidable; and it happens to all player types, classes, and styles. Chris Paul is the new Isiah Thomas. Andrea Bargnani was supposed to be the next Dirk Nowitzki. And for wings, well, they've all been trying to chase after that flying shoe salesman. I'm guilty of doing this myself. I think that with time, patience, and room to grow, Enes Kanter can be some sort of monster mix of Jeff Ruland and Luis Scola. Time will tell on that one for sure.
But instead of trying to find the guy I felt Derrick Favors played, acted, or behaved like . . . I instead went to the numbers. I was hoping Favors would one day become some sort of Terry Cummings / Karl Malone type. Maybe he will be, maybe he wont. What he does appear to be, more than anything I want him to be, is a defense first type of guy. He's a big who plays defense and blocks shots. His offensive game seems like it will ever lag behind. He seems like . . . well . . . Alonzo Mourning in that regard.
Mourning's career was eclipsed by Shaquille O'Neal, who was louder, bigger, made a bigger spectacle of himself, and scored more. That is, I guess, DeMarcus Cousins in Favors' life. Which makes sense because Favors is the more quietly intense Mourning type who is defense first, scoring second.
This isn't just the "silver lining" either -- this is based upon some thing called "statistics".
Check out Basketball-reference's player finder deal for a rookie Alonzo (age 22) and current Favors (age 20). Favors is two years younger, played a whole lot less, and has less college experience -- yet he holds his own in some categories. I'll highlight some of them that I like here:
- Per 36 Mins: Offensive Rebounds Zo 3.6, Fav 4.1
- Per 36 Mins: Defensive Rebounds Zo 7.4, Fav 6.8
- Per 36 Mins: Total Rebounds Zo 11.0, Fav 10.9
- Per 36 Mins: Assists Zo 1.0, Fav 1.1
- Per 36 Mins: Steals Zo 0.4, Fav 1.0
- Per 36 Mins: Blocks Zo 3.7, Fav 1.5 (big diff in this, but there's a reason)
- Per 36 Mins: Turnovers Zo 3.2, Fav 2.8
- Per 36 Mins: Fouls Zo 3.9, Fav 3.8
- Advanced: Total Rebound% Zo 16.4, Fav 17.3
- Advanced: Block% Zo 5.8, Fav 3.4
- Advanced: USG% Zo 25.5, Fav 21.4
- Advanced: DRtg Zo 106, Fav 104
There are huge differences too, like mpg for one (Zo plays 14 more mpg, but it's not like he had Big Al and Sap ahead of him in Charlotte), which leads to Zo playing more, blocking more actual shots, and taking way more shots in the offense. And, of course, that Zo was older, stronger, more experienced (way more college ball), and not coming off the bench. But these little snip-its show me that Favors is a lot more like Zo right now than he is like TC or Karl Malone.
I'm okay being wrong here. Zo was a great player who played defense -- something we've missed in Utah for a long while. I'm also fine with losing the 30 pt games Karl used to get and replacing them with the 20 point games Zo got. Why? Because, obviously, Alec Burks is going to be the next D-Wade, and Hayward the next Detlef. Clearly.
::rolls eyes at myself somehow::