Let us heap more praise on the giant shoulders of Derrick Favors. This comes from an excellent article on SI.com, by Rob Mahoney.
This is my favorite part:
Utah doesn’t run a switch-heavy scheme by design, but Snyder has allowed Favors to pick up some very challenging ballhandlers on occasion. Only one perimeter player—LeBron James—has managed to score on Favors off a switch thus far, according to Synergy Sports. Among those he’s withstood are Stephen Curry and Kyle Lowry, both of whom missed late-game threes over Favors’s contest.
Having the ace-in-the-hole to switch a guard/big perimeter pick and roll is a huge luxury in the NBA. Think of how many times you have seen this switch with other big men? You just wince and wait for the guard to shred the big man (Think Rudy getting iso'd on Chris Paul). Part of the confidence in Favors being able to switch comes from the rest of the squad. It's reassuring when you have Rudy protecting the paint, and long, athletic wings that can switch any additional PnR's. It's why the 3-wing lineup has been effective, and why Dante is so important.
Favors, by the numbers:
FG%- .547 (10th in the NBA)
Steals/game- 2.0 (7th in the NBA!)
PER- 26.4 (8th in the NBA. Above Lebron and Anthony Davis)
ORTG- 116.6 (15th in the NBA)
DRTG- 96.3 (13th in the NBA)
Win Shares- 2.3 (16th in the NBA) Per 48- .239 (7th in the NBA)
Box +/- - 6.2 (9th in the NBA)
VORP- 1.0 (tied for 12th in the NBA)
All of these are best for the Utah Jazz
After the loss to the Warriors, Gordon Monson wrote an article for the SL Trib, about the Jazz playing in close games. He makes some good points. I don't think anyone felt good about the Jazz's chances in that close of a game... especially being behind with >1:00. If the Jazz went into the final couple of minutes with a 5-7 point cushion, most of us would have felt confidence in their defense. The problem continues to be the offense.
That aside, Monson makes the same old beat writer fall back reference of the team "lacking a star." This is not only antiquated, but if you look at #2 above, probably ill-informed. Not delving into the philosophical discussion of what in the hell exactly constitutes a star, the evidence doesn't necessarily support the thought. Did the Spurs always dump the ball into Tim Duncan and "let him work?" In close games, every one of the Spurs would argue that it's more important to get the best shot. LeBron would agree. Steve Kerr is in the history books because MJ knew it.
No one wants to watch a game go down with an iso play ending in a strongly contested shot, while there are 2 better options on the court.
So, what has Favors improved upon this season? Probably his shooting. He shoots an excellent 64% at less than 5ft from the rim. When you extend it out to 8ft, he doesn't significantly drop off -- he's hitting 63% of those.
What's impressive is that a step outside that range (10-14ft), Favors is hitting an admirable 51% of his shots.
He obviously doesn't shoot the at volume, but look at that shot at the top of the key.
Final thing: Should Favors be an All-Star? Who does he beat out, in the loaded Western Conference?