|Favors seems to be having fun posterizing people|
One of the players pegged for a breakout year by most knowledgeable basketball fans is Derrick Favors. The Georgia Tech product laid low for most his first couple of years, but looked absolutely monstrous in the playoffs last year.
Utah was a completely different team on defense with Favors in the game. He hedged hard on the pick and roll and sprinted back to his man. He rotated hard to protect the rim. Overall, the Jazz allowed 15 less points per 100 possessions with Favors on the floor. That’s fifth in the league, just ahead of players like Avery Bradley and Andre Iguodala (Kevin Garnett is first for those who were wondering). This possession pretty much epitomizes it.
Favors hedges on the screen and roll and puts his hand up to bother the passer. When Tiago Splitter (not even Favors' man) gets the ball Favors rotates quickly and absolutely abuses Splitter.
The question this year will be whether or not he will be able to find enough minutes to be effective. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson should each get above 30 minutes a night and the third over all pick of last year's draft, Enes Kanter, lost 51 pounds this offseason and has looked impressive in the preseason. So where does this leave Favors?
On offense, Favors is an efficient player that will do the dirty work and doesn't need the ball to score. Last season, he posted 1.19 points per possession as the pick and roller screener, ranked sixteenth in the league. Offensive rebounds and cuts combined to make up 36% of his total offense. He score above 1.07 PPP on each of those play types, a great recipe for success.
I expect to see around 24 minutes a night for Favors until he really asserts him self or Jefferson or Millsap is traded (a big possibility). Utah has experimented with their super-big lineup where Millsap plays the three. I expect to see more of this lineup, but Millsap isn't enough of a shooter to not limit spacing and his slow lateral speed will certainly when facing premier scorers from the three.
In a season filled with story lines, the Jazz's murky big man situation will be one of the most intriguing ones to watch. One thing is clear though: Derrick Favors deserves minutes, and if he keeps up the type of play he has shown in flashes, the Jazz will have a big time game changer.