I’m just going to come out and say it. It’s going to be an up and down season for Derrick Favors. As a fan base we may need to come to some truths about everyone’s favorite power forward. Some facts (and opinions):
Overall, Favors has gotten by with his limited offensive weapons. The last two seasons Derrick Favors has averaged 0.9 points per possession and has used 0.45-0.51 possessions per minute played. That’s not awful efficiency, but it’s certainly not good. Similarly to Gordon Hayward, Favors should see an increase in total possessions due to an increase in minutes, not more possessions per minute. But like Hayward, we should also see a decrease in Favors’ offensive efficiency, because he will most likely be asked to create more possessions (post up and isolations) and do less in transition and put backs, etc. You could also make the argument that Derrick Favors will face better players in the opposing starting lineups and become less efficient that way, although I don’t think that’s a generally true concept. As seen by the Jazz team last season, sometimes you would rather be defended by the starters.
A Go-To Move?
The problem, or more correctly, the difficulty in Derrick Favor’s offensive game right now, is that he has limited offensive tools, but he will certainly have the opportunity to display an array of moves. I imagine that some of this is due to Favors’ desire to become a versatile big man and part of it is due to the Jazz organization’s desire to have Derrick be able to score in multiple ways. Personally, I think he should focus on becoming very good at scoring in just one or two ways, but we could have a long debate about Favors’ offensive potential for weeks. And we will.
But for me, Favors is "best" when he is at the rim. His numbers aren’t even great there, but he puts a lot of pressure on a defense because he’s big and long and draws fouls at a decent rate. I would love to see Derrick focus on getting to the rim with and without the ball and limit his shots away from the hoop. It would certainly be beneficial for Favors to expand his arsenal, but for every player in the NBA, there is a point of diminishing returns. It is too bad that Tyson Chandler can’t take 15 foot jump shots, but he sure is fantastic at what he can do well.
Favors has shown some signs of being able to hit a 10-14 foot jumper and if he could find even one spot on the floor to have a respectable jumper, it would certainly help his ability to keep defenders off balance. But generally speaking, the diversity of shots Derrick Favors takes this season should have an inverse proportion to his offensive efficiency, in a dramatic manner. There will certainly be some ups, where Favors shows glimpses of future offensive greatness, but don't expect it to come consistently this season.
In Favors' Defense
Defensively, Favors should be able to be an anchor for years to come, but it’s no secret that he will need to cut down on his foul rate in order to stay on the floor. Ideally, Favors would cut down from his 0.5 offensive fouls per game in order to allow him to defend more aggressively on the defensive end.
Eventually the Jazz and Derrick Favors will find the right balance of offensive expansion and specialization and Favors’ defensive abilities should make him a very valuable player for many years.
Per-36 Minute Projections
Derrick Favors says that he isn't as quiet as people think he is. Favors told media during training camp that he has no problem speaking up and taking a leadership role. Favors, troughout his time in Utah, has not had to take that role with the team. Quietly trying to make his mark behind the jazz's two best players, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, Favors was used sparingly as a reserve for 3 seasons. The 2013-14 season with Jefferson and Millsap gone will allow Favors to be the leader and the focal point of the team that wasn't allowed the previous 3 seasons.
During the 2012 NBA playoffs the Jazz were down to the Spurs 0-2. The practice the day before their third game in the series was a turning point for how I viewed Favors. Favors was one of the very few players that played well in San antonio, so a few media members, including myself, decidied to talk to him instead of Jefferson or Millsap. When asked about his play, Favors said he could do a lot more of it and play even better if given the chance. Favors said how he hated to lose and would do anything he could to help the Jazz beat the Spurs. There was a fire in Favors' eyes that I had never seen before. The Usual quiet and unassuming young player was speaking up. Favors knew that the team played better when he was on the court. He knew if he was allowed minutes he could lead the team to victory. Favors had no doubts of his role and his talent in the NBA.
Favors' confidence that was shown during the Spurs series will help lead the Jazz this season. Favors also now has a home in Utah with his newly signed contract. Expect Favors to speak up on and off the court to help lead this young Jazz team.