Sports are about hope.
Hope that you can win the next game. Hope that you can make the playoffs. Hope for a championship. Hope to see spectacular plays. Hope that this year will be better than last year, and that next year will be better than this year.
And if your team isn't elite right now—if that championship dream doesn't make sense for this year—then it's hope that your team is on the right path to compete for one soon.
Derrick Favors is the reason I hope.
It's astonishing when you think about it, but the Jazz have never had a post player like him. Never. He is freakishly athletic guy who can play C or PF, who can anchor the defense of the entire team while also being an effective go-to scorer. Not even Karl Malone, for all his greatness, was that type of player.
This doesn't mean I expect him to be better than Malone.
But it's dishonest to ignore that Favors will be different, that Favors can anchor a defense like nobody on the Jazz since Mark Eaton, and that Favors' offensive game is quite a bit more polished than young Malone's was. It's absurd to pretend that Favors isn't already the greatest two-way post player the team has ever had.
I get really irritated when some fans and commentators call him raw offensively. If you want to see raw, I invite you to go watch Hasheem Thabeet or rookie Karl Malone. Now that, friends, is raw. And that doesn't resemble anything about Derrick Favors' game.
Just because Derrick Favors is athletic and can get to the rim a lot doesn't mean he has no footwork. Just because Derrick Favors looks spectacular dunking the ball doesn't mean he has no other ways to score.
It's true that Favors needs to work on his mid-range game. It's true Favors needs to work on his post moves. But sometimes we get so caught up with this kind of stuff and miss what really matters ... which is production. And Derrick Favors is an incredibly productive player.
And more than anything else, what makes me believe in Derrick Favors is how he reacted the few times he was given a big role on both ends:
16 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, 3 fouls, 2 turnovers, 52% FG, 74% from the line.
That's what he produced as the starting center last year, leading the Jazz to a 4-1 record over those games, including three of the biggest wins of the year (Philly, GS, and Lakers). The critics will cry out sample size. This is true, but it's also true that he was only given five games to show what he can do with a starring role on both ends, and he killed it.
He makes smart cuts. He positions himself intelligently when a guard or wing penetrates to the middle. He attacks the rim instead of falling away for a 9-foot push shot. He thrives inside with contact.
No, his manifest destiny is not to just cover for others' defensive problems.
Ladies and Gentlement, this is Derrick Favors. He's the best player on the team right now. He's our best hope for today, this April, and for the future: