When you first look at Derrick Favors's numbers, they are pretty underwhelming. What's more, when you consider that this guy is hopefully our future, 8 points 5 boards and 1 block a game is nothing to get excited about––even if he is just a rookie.
*Note - this post is confusing. I apologize.*
So what is it about him that gets us so excited? Sure, his physical profile is elite. He's even got some pretty epic dunks on youtube. But those numbers...Those are just bad, right?
Not so fast, my friend (in a Lee Corso voice).
I made spreadsheet comparing those "underwhelming" numbers with the per-minute numbers from the first two seasons of some of the best big men in the game today (Howard, Amar'e, Aldridge, Bosh, Griffin, Gasol) and some of the best big men from the recent past (Garnett, Duncan, Brand, Webber, Malone). I also threw in Antonio McDyess because when Favors came to Utah, I remember him being compared to a pre-injury McDyess. I know the list is not exhaustive, but I felt like this was a decent list for Favors comparisons.
In the spreadsheet (link below), the first row for each player is that player's actual averages for the 11 statistics. The second row is what those averages would have been with Favors's minutes (i.e., I converted each players statistic to a per-minute number and then multiplied by 20.2––the number of minutes Favors averaged per game). The third row is a ratio of Favors's average with the player's adjusted average. A ratio of 1 means that the player's per-minute number was exactly the same as Favors's number. A ratio less than one means that the player's per-minute average was better than Favors's and vice versa (e.g., .9 in points means that for every point the player would score per minute, Favors would only score .9 points; 1.5 in points would mean that Favors scored 1.5 points for every point the player scored per minute). The ratios where Favors's statistic is at least as good as the comparison player's are marked in a green box. The ratios I thought were pretty low are yellow, and really low are red.The number in the last column for each player is the average of all 11 ratios for that player. The idea is that if the number is greater than 1, then overall, Favors was statistically better than that player (and vice versa). The number next to Favors's statistics is the average of all of the overall scores (meaning that if it's one, overall, Favors is equal to the average player in that group).
The second table is a ranking of Favors's overall scores to each of the players. The first one means that Favors was overall better than that player (Malone) more than any other, and so on. A (1) or (2) next to the player means that it was the player's first or second season. Any player that Favors was better than is in green, and worse than is in red. To the right of that, I listed each stat category from the highest to lowest. If it was positive or equal for Favors, it's in green. If it was negative, red.
So what does it all mean? Well, when you adjust for minutes played, Favors is in elite company. There's A LOT more I could say about this (nooooo, please don't!!), but I'll let you look at the spreadsheet and draw your own conclusions. I'll just add that as you will see, Favors's biggest weakness was fouling––he fouled at an alarming rate compared to these other numbers. Because his fouling was so much worse than everyone's on this list, it really really hurt a lot of his overall scores. If Favors would have fouled at the average rate in this group, his overall score would have been better than most. (I'll include a link to the same table but without "fouls" as a category and you will see the difference. I understand that fouls is implicit in a lot of the stats--can't score if you're fouling too much--but it seems like this is one area that should be the easiest to improve on.)
(And sorry I had to do it this way. I wish I could have uploaded the spreadsheet directly on here and explained it better, but hopefully you get the point.) Link from Dropbox.com http://db.tt/ZKN5BMn and here is the link to the table without "fouls" as a category http://db.tt/C2RBNVq.
This confused me just to type this. I'm sorry. I hope it makes sense. Tweet me @Mac_Diego or comment if you have any questions. I just did this as a hobby, so if you are good at stats and see that I screwed something up, please be gentle.