In the first quarter of the Utah Jazz’s 102-95 victory over the OKC Thunder, Derrick Favors had five offensive rebounds. His first offensive rebound came with 2:27 left in the quarter. Five offensive rebounds and two minutes later, Favors set the tone for the rest of the half. Utah had jumped out to a quick start, 9-0 but the Thunder came roaring back, it looked like it would be a repeat of Game 1, but Derrick Favors did not allow an encore.
Donovan Mitchell, the hero of the game, had this to say about Derrick Favors in his walk-off post-game interview:
Donovan: “Man, you know, the biggest thing for us, Derrick Favors played his a** off. He, when we weren’t making shots, he was rebounding. I think he had a double-double, almost in the first half. But you know without Favs, we wouldn’t be at this point.”
Derrick Favors the ‘unsung hero’ of the Utah Jazz has been there for the Jazz all season. Mylo and James Hansen recognized Favors in this podcast, and Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News, a week later, again recognized Favors as the ‘unsung hero’ of the Utah Jazz in this fabulous article.
What has Derrick Favors done for the Utah Jazz?
You’re forgiven if it doesn’t feel like Derrick Favors has been a Jazzman for very long, but he actually is the longest-tenured Jazzman. It may be hard to believe but he has been with the Jazz for 8 seasons. Most of his time with the Jazz has been overshadowed by other players such as Big Al, Paul Millsap, and Gordon Hayward. When the Jazz finally did decide to rebuild the team in the summer 2013, they made the choice to feature Gordon Hayward as the franchise player. At the time either player could have been chosen, the choice was Hayward. Favors never complained. He never complained about his role, nor about the attention he rarely received. Favors would instead continue be the kind of player the Jazz front-office and Jazz fans love on and off the court: humble and always willing to sacrifice for the good of the team.
In October of 2013, Favors signed a four-year extension with the Jazz. The extension showed his commitment to the Jazz, Favors signed the extension early instead of testing the free agent market in the summer of 2014. Favors at the time said he didn’t want to move again and was looking for stability. Favors has been loyal to the Jazz since the Deron Williams trade, that is hard to find.
Despite his ever-changing role on the court Derrick Favors has never complained. When he was coming off the bench behind Paul Millsap, even now when he doesn’t close games, Favors never complains. When the Jazz traded for Favors, it was the age of big men. The entire league was chasing the Los Angeles Lakers; everyone wanted bigmen that could compete with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The ever under-sized Jazz, were no different. The Jazz traded for Favors with a traditional big to compete against the Lakers in mind. The Lakers glory days didn’t last much longer and the league went small. Favors had to adjust his game and he did.
Throughout his eight year career with the Jazz, Favors has done what the Jazz have asked of him and more. Off the court he has been even better with his charitable heart. He has worked with the Ronald McDonald’s house for years, supplied school supplies for children, given away Jazz tickets for underserved populations, and has been a good guy to the fans. A neighbor of mine when I lived in Provo, met Derrick Favors at Seven Peaks, this neighbor was a young teenager at the time. He said Favors was super nice, he took pictures with everyone who asked and was friendly. Treating young fans in a kind way will only help the next generation become loyal Jazz fans.
Let’s look at what he has done this year (with help from an internet non-news source).
After a few years of not being healthy. Favors played in 77 of 82 regular season games. Favors being healthy for the first time in years has allowed him to play like we all knew he could play. No one ever questioned Favors heart, especially after seeing him help save the Clippers series on one leg and a bad back, now we get to see him play as we all have expected from him when he was the center piece of the Deron Williams trade. He is a long athletic big that can guard on the perimeter, is an excellent pick and roll player, and has a nasty streak to get under other bigs skins.
Putting Power back in the Power Forward
Favors has been committed to going strong to the basket, he has 150 dunks this season, 150! That is a career high for our power forward! Compare that to his last few seasons.
2016-17 season - 52 dunks
2015-16 season - 85 dunks
2014-15 season- 105 dunks
2013-14 season - 77 dunks
What kind of special player is able to not only become leaner to fit the new mode of big men but also becoming stronger and become more committed to taking it inside for the dunk!
Taking it Outside
Not only is Favors dunking more, he is also taking more shots from 16 feet and out! 39% of his field goal attempts are from 16 feet to the three point line. Favors is also modernizing his game by attempting a career high in three pointers also. Favors is attempting 1.1 three pointers a game, compare that to just .3 last season, and .1 the previous three seasons and 0 his first three seasons in the league. If Millsap can become a three point shooter, so can our Favors.
Favors has not only been taking more outside shots, but he is improving his field goal percentage. Favors finished the 2017-18 season as 7th in the entire NBA in field goal % and 2 PT FG%. Favors also is shooting at a personal best- 56.3 FG%, compared to his previous high of 52.5 %. In his rookie year Favors only shot 48.2 % from the floor.
Passing the Ball
Favors has excellent on-court chemistry with not only Rudy Gobert, but his other teammates. Favors and Ingles love to pick and roll other teams to death. Favors has become a better passer this season.
Look at this first highlight of Favors passing to Gobert against the Warriors!
Derrick Favors improvements in shooting, passing, dunks, and closing out on the perimeter etc, has allowed for amazing chemistry on the court. I have never seen Favors look so happy and comfortable with a Jazz team before. He is involved in everything, when that used to not be the case. Its so fun to see a team that gets along on and off the court and see Derrick Favors be a part of it!
Derrick Favors gets his revenge on Donovan Mitchell. Look at Favors stalking his prey. pic.twitter.com/SaWasEaN3y— “Playoff SLC D” (@slcdunk) December 1, 2017
Derrick Favors is the ‘unsung hero’ of the Utah Jazz. Improving his game every single year, adapting to what the Jazz want from him from year-to-year, showing loyalty to the team on and off the court, Favors is everything the team and fans could ever want in a Jazzman. May he be our power forward for years to come!