Back in October, the Utah Jazz and fourth year power forward Derrick Favors agreed to a four-year contract extension that could pay the young big man upwards of 50 million dollars. Some Jazz fans were hoping to sign swingman Gordon Hayward to an extension before Favors, or at least see some more production from Favors before signing a big deal. Late into this sorrowful 2014 Jazz campaign, Favors is proving that he is worth that pretty penny.
In a 122-104 loss to the San Antonio Spurs Sunday, Favors finished with a career high 28 points as well as 10 rebounds, three steals and an assist; a stat line that Jazz fans have long been awaiting since the two sides agreed to the extension. In his fourth year as a pro, Favors is averaging just less than 13 points per game in 30 minutes of play. While increased scoring from Favors would prove helpful to a Jazz squad that struggles to find consistent offense, it’s his defense and rebounding that have been most valuable to the Jazz’s limited success this season. Favors leads the team in rebounding with 8.6 per game as well as blocked shots with 1.4 per contest.
Favors defensive output can usually predict whether or not the Jazz won or lost a game. In wins this season, Favors contributes nearly one more stat to every category.
In losses this season, Favors is averaging just over two offensive rebounds to go with his 8.3 total rebounds per game; Favors also averages just over one block per game in losses to go with his 12 points and 1.9 turnovers. In wins however, Favors averages three offensive rebounds that add to his 9.2 total rebounds per game. He follows that up with 1.7 blocks per game as well as nearly 14 points and only 1.6 turnovers per contest.
Based on these numbers, the key to more Jazz wins in the future is making sure that Favors is near the ball at all times. Being more aggressive offensively will lead to more points, being more aggressive defensively will lead to more blocks and rebounds, and being more aggressive throughout the game will lead to more wins. The question is, how do the Jazz make Favors more aggressive during games? Is it coaching? Is it practice time? Is it more minutes during games? Or is it just Favors turning that mental switch? It might not be so productive for the Jazz to get Favors rolling for the remainder of this season, but this offseason will be the next crucial step in the development of what could be one of the most dominant power forwards in the western conference.
No matter what kind of scoring Favors puts up, no matter what kind of defensive effort he gives and no matter what kind of statistical line he makes, Favors is crucial to the Jazz winning games. Favors has played in all 22 of the Jazz’s victories this season and has proven to be a major catalyst in any Jazz success in either winning or losing efforts.
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