It’s time for another player-centric #STATSTHREAD! This week’s subject is Derrick Favors, the loyal forward who remains one of the game’s most underrated players.
As one half of the Wasatch Front, Favors’ defense has been key to Utah’s dominance on that end over the years. He’s a weapon in the pick-and-roll as well.
And even as he saw his role diminished because of the rise of Rudy Gobert (the subject of last week’s stats thread), he passed up an opportunity to play elsewhere in unrestricted free agency this summer.
Favors’ status as a fan favorite was solidified this summer, but he’s been building a strong statistical case for years.
- Derrick Favors played 1,230 minutes with no other centers on the floor this season. In those minutes, he averaged 17.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and one steal per 36 minutes, while shooting 59.4 percent from the field.
Favors wears two important hats for the Jazz: starting power forward and backup center. His ability and willingness to do both is a big part of what allows the Jazz to play small-ball minutes with players like Jae Crowder or Thabo Sefolosha at the 4.
- In 2017-18, Derrick Favors posted career highs in Box Plus-Minus, Win Shares per 48 Minutes and True Shooting Percentage.
Favors was hampered by injuries in 2016-17, which led to his only below-average Box Plus-Minus since 2012. With his mobility and explosiveness back for the 2017-18, he was a monster on both ends of the floor.
- Among players with at least 400 rebounds in 2017-18, Derrick Favors’ Contested Rebound Percentage of 50 ranked second.
Favors’ basic rebounding average doesn’t do his work on the boards justice. He has great hands around the rim and is strong enough to bully the vast majority of the league.
- Among players who made at least 200 shots in the range of zero to three feet from the rim, Derrick Favors’ field goal percentage (73.5) in that range trailed only LeBron James’ (75.2). He was ninth in that stat in 2015-16 and third in 2014-15.
Favors’ dominance inside isn’t exclusive to rebounding. When he got the ball in position to score underneath, he did so on nearly three out of every four attempts. Any time your second only to LeBron James in a category, you’re doing pretty good.
- Derrick Favors was eighth in total dunks in 2017-18. He was 20th in 2015-16 and 10th in 2014-15.
When you think of the game’s most prolific dunkers, Favors may not come to mind. He’s right up there with players like Gobert, Andre Drummond and Dwight Howard, though.
- Derrick Favors is top 10 in Utah Jazz history in offensive rebounds, total rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage and Player Efficiency Rating. He’s 14th (sixth among big men) in total Win Shares with the Jazz.
Where do you rank Favors among the greatest players in Jazz history? If he racks up as many Win Shares in 2018-19 as he had this season, he’ll barely trail Paul Millsap for sixth in Jazz history in Win Shares.
- The only players in NBA history who match Derrick Favors’ combination of career Offensive Rebounding Percentage, Assist Percentage and Field Goal Percentage (minimum 10,000 minutes): Charles Barkley, Andrew Bynum, Nick Collison, Dwight Howard, Amir Johnson, Swen Nater, Shaquille O’Neal, Dennis Rodman, Jeff Ruland and Michael Smith.
Favors isn’t just a defensive presence. He does things that help the Jazz put points on the board too. Over the last four seasons, he has an above-average Offensive Box Plus-Minus.
- The only players in NBA history who match Derrick Favors’ combination of career Defensive Rebounding Percentage, Block Percentage and Steal Percentage (minimum 10,000 minutes): Marcus Camby, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Ben Wallace.
Of course, Favors’ greatest value is probably added as a defender. With the exception of Andre Drummond (and maybe Anthony Davis, due to longevity), everyone in that list is considered an all-time great defender.
- Now, let’s combine all the qualifiers from the two lists above (and use total rebounding percentage instead of offensive and defensive). The only players left are Derrick Favors (of course), Anthony Davis and David Robinson.
When you combine what Favors does on both ends of the floor, you find that he’s in pretty elite company. David Robinson is a Hall of Famer. Anthony Davis is on track to be. Favors has sacrificed the role and shot attempts he might need to be a 20-and-10 guy, but his all-around impact is still huge.
- The Utah Jazz won 48, 51, 40 and 38 games over the last four seasons. When Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert shared the floor, they played like a 48-win team in 2017-18; a 57-win team in 2016-17; a 47-win team in 2015-16; and a 48-win team in 2014-15, per NBA Math’s FATS Calculator.
For over three seasons, the Wasatch Front (Favors and Gobert) has been a staple of the Jazz. And with the exception of this season, Utah has been better every year when those two share the floor. If you limit the data to games after the All-Star break in 2018, Utah played like a 58-win team when those two were on the floor.