When Derrick Favors signed his two year-$38 Million deal with the Jazz this offseason, there were mixed feelings among Jazz fans and media. Most fans were thrilled with the idea of keeping Favors around in Utah as the longest-tenured player on the team and one of the staples of the franchise over the last handful of years. Some thought Favors was overpaid and that the Jazz needed to move on from the idea of having two traditional big men, especially sharing the same frontcourt for most of the game. These mixed opinions intensified as the season started and went on, as the Jazz struggled mightily with a tough schedule and just weren’t playing very good basketball. The spacing just wasn’t working offensively as the Jazz fell at one point to be one of the top-5 worst offenses in the NBA. Favors’ name became an integral part of hypothetical trade rumors as trade deadline approached. The deadline came and went, with the Jazz not able to land any trades and continuing to roll it back with the original squad. Since then, with the help of a favorable (pun-intended) schedule, the Jazz have returned to being a top-ten team and are making their final playoff push.
Before dropping a bad loss at home to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Jazz were coming off one of the best stretches of their season so far. They beat the Clippers at home in a tough game, and then the very next night dropped the Nuggets in Denver, giving them just their fifth home loss of the season. Two nights later they took down the Milwaukee Bucks, who have the best record in the NBA. During these games the Jazz played tough, disciplined basketball and battled out wins against some of the top teams in the NBA. A big reason why the Jazz were able to pull out those wins is due to the play of Derrick Favors.
Derrick Favors since February 22 is averaging 17.4 points and 10 rebounds per game, on 67 percent shooting from the field and 90 percent (!!!) from the free throw line. Who thought they would ever see a time when Derrick Favors went 27-30 from the line over a 7 game span? Not me. Favors has been a huge, if not the most important player during most of the Jazz wins lately, including posting 15/11 on the road in in Denver and a beastly 23/18 in the win over the Bucks. Favors’ performance against the Buckets was in the shadow of Donovan Mitchell’s career-high 46 points, which was one of the best fourth-quarter performances I’ve ever seen in my life.
In a rare game in which Rudy Gobert got played off the court, Favors stepped up in the fourth quarter and finished the game as the Jazz big that helped seal the comeback win. Oh, and did I mention he killed a man? Like seriously, he needs to lay low for a while, probably find a safehouse or stay with a family member, because he’s probably wanted for murder.
This dunk from Favors will go down as one of my favorite plays of the year for sure. Faves pounding his chest with considerable force while shouting “HE CAN’T F*** WITH ME” puts some fire in my chest. Something else about Favors that has caught my eye this year is how much emotion he is playing with. Throughout his career he has seemed normally pretty level-headed and calm, even when he throws down a big dunk or gets a huge block. Lately he’s been screaming, yelling, flexing, etc. much more than I feel like ever has in his career. Not to mention straight up fighting a man a few weeks ago when him and Mason Plumlee both got ejected. Favors got revenge when he also dunked on Plumlee’s head last week.
Favors took matters into his own hands once again last night, scoring 25 on 9-11 shooting and grabbing 5 rebounds with 2 blocks and one steal. Performances like this from Favors have started to become the norm lately, which is pretty insane.
If you have watched the Jazz games lately, you’ve been able to see how much Favors has impacted games. It seem likes he is always on the court when the Jazz go on a run and build some separation from their opponents. He absolutely feasts on backup centers and makes a fool out of them with his signature offensive rebound and two-handed dunk combo that we are all very familiar with. Since February 1st, the Jazz have outscored opponents by 101 points with Favors on the floor, which is the highest of any Jazz player during that time. He has accumulated the second-most win shares of any Jazz man this season, only trailing Rudy Gobert who at times as led the entire NBA. Favors has done the big things, like throwing down huge dunks in 23/18 performances, but he’s also done the little things like securing huge rebounds, or getting a big block. He’s done whatever the Jazz have asked of him this season, and it’s ultimately led to winning basketball games, sometimes with his play being the biggest factor.
Some might still believe that the Jazz would be better off without Derrick Favors. But imagining the Jazz without Derrick Favors is incredibly sad, lame, and in my opinion straight-up incorrect. He makes the Jazz better. He wins the Jazz games. As long as he is playing like he has recently and this season, he needs to stay a Jazz man. And as long as he stays a Jazz man, the wins will keep piling up and one day something bigger just might happen as well.