Derrick Favors is the centerpiece to many Utah Jazz rumors. What else is new? For a few years now, he’s been in trade rumors every deadline and even offseason. This time around is a little bit different, with the veteran power forward at the mercy of a non-guaranteed contract. Tony Jones continues to deliver some updates and nuggets, which we highlighted yesterday here.
At the end of the season, Dennis Lindsey was quoted saying that Derrick Favors is part of the solution, not part of the problem. However, that apparently doesn’t mean he’ll be staying on the roster. Opening up cap space with his contract is a cruel definition of solution, but that could be the case in a few days.
Much like Dante Exum, Derrick Favors can be somewhat polarizing amongst Jazz fans. He’s a fantastic NBA player. That’s indisputable. He helps the Jazz win and it really is that simple. But he’s also not the ideal fit next to repeat DPOY Rudy Gobert. Favs would be a top tier NBA center, but his primary role in Utah is as a backup C.
Honestly, Favors would be better off statistically somewhere else than in Utah. And Utah might be better off with a scoring big over Derrick Favors. But giving up such a valuable player and known commodity is never easy. I don’t envy the decisions that Dennis Lindsey and Justin Zanik have to make over the next week or so.
But just in the last few days, we’ve heard of 2 separate power forwards express interest in playing for the Jazz.
Hearing Bobby Portis has significant interest in coming to the Utah Jazz. Portis is a restricted free agent for the Washington Wizards. He’s a power forward/center who is a good perimeter shooter. Eight days until free agency starts— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) June 22, 2019
Let me clarify one thing. Yes, Tobias has strong interest in the Jazz. Yes the jazz have strong interest in Tobias. Still, the Conley trade makes a marriage unlikely, financially. Very unlikely— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) June 22, 2019
So what should the Jazz do? How about a little Andy Bailey-esque blind stats to compare these guys.
Per 36 Minutes
Per 100 Possessions
Player A Talent Grades
Player B Talent Grades
Player C Talent Grades
Player A PIPM Projections
Player B PIPM Projections
Player C PIPM Projections
It’s probably pretty obvious, but Player A is Derrick Favors, B is Tobias Harris, and C is Bobby Portis. I get that Portis isn’t nearly on the same level as the other two and he’s restricted. But he expressed interest in playing for the Jazz so I thought I would include him.
On that note, let’s stop and appreciate that for a minute. Players are openly (well indirectly through agents?) expressing interest in coming to the City of Utah. This is an amazing time to be a Jazz fan! Gone are the days of Rony Seikaly. With two young stars, a great coach, and stable/competent management it’s easy to see why this would be a preferred destination. But it’s still crazy that this is even happening!
Anyways, what should the Jazz do at the power forward spot? Is Mike Conley’s playmaking and scoring enough of an upgrade that the Jazz can continue to trot out the retro front court of Rudy and Favs? He absolutely could be. But if a top free agent like Tobias Harris is genuinely interest, should Justin Zanik turn over every rock and see if the space can be created? He absolutely should.
Whatever he decides, let’s just hope he pushes the right buttons. The Utah Jazz are closer to an NBA title than they have been in years. Like the Toronto Raptors, the Jazz could strike gold and have the right team in the right place at the right time. Could this finally be the year? The decision about the power forward position could provide that answer.