The Utah Jazz are 10-10 and they are one team people fail to acknowledge as a legitimate playoff contender already. The leader of the Utah Jazz is clearly their primary play maker Gordon Hayward. With all of the spotlight on Hayward and budding center Rudy Gobert, one player in Utah is being severely overlooked. That player is Derrick Favors.
Derrick Favors was the third overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft by the then New Jersey Nets, but later traded to the Utah Jazz as part of the Deron Williams trade. Favors was not under the radar coming out of college. A lot of scouts were high on the potential of Derrick Favors coming out of Georgia Institute of Technology. Now Derrick Favors has five NBA seasons under his belt and he is quietly having a fantastic sixth season as a pro.
Through 19 games in the 2015-16 NBA season, Derrick Favors is getting it one on both ends of the floor. Favors is quietly one of the best two-way power forwards in the NBA. He is also one of the most efficient players in the league. Favors is averaging 17.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 54% from the field. Derrick Favors is averaging 3.1 offensive rebounds per game, which displays his willingness to work hard on the boards. His ability to crash the offensive glass leads to easy second-chance point opportunities for his teammates and also himself.
While those are the surface level statistics on Favors, let’s take a closer look on how underrated he is becoming in today’s NBA. So much focus is on the play of other power forwards in the NBA and rightfully so. However, Derrick Favors’ efficiency is slightly better than the Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin. Davis and Griffin are nationally recognized as the top-tier power forwards in the NBA. Anthony Davis’ Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is 25.6 and Blake Griffin’s PER is 25.7. Now Derrick Favors’ PER is a little higher than both of theirs’ at 25.9. Statistics how that Derrick Favors belongs in the company of the league’s elite big mean, but most people will fail to mention his name when the topic is brought up.
It might not matter so much to Derrick Favors because he is just trying to help his Utah Jazz team become playoff contenders. It is safe to say he is doing everything he can to make that possible. The Utah Jazz are the third best defense in terms of stopping opponents from scoring. The Jazz only allow 96.2 points per game, but score just 98.2 points per game themselves. While Derrick Favors is on the floor, the Utah Jazz look like a much better team. When Favors is playing, the Utah Jazz score 119 points per 100 possession, as opposed to their current average of 105.5. Not only is the offense better, but Utah’s defense is too. The Jazz have a season average of giving up 103.4 points per 100 possessions, yet they allow just 99 points while Derrick Favors is in the game. The Utah Jazz are utilizing Favors the best they can and his talents are showing, but not everyone is recognizing his play in the early season.
Derrick Favors is posting career-highs in every category this season and he is completely under the radar. The Utah Jazz are not a popular team to begin with, so it is only natural that this level of play goes unnoticed. The Jazz have one main focus and that is the playoffs. They feel like they deserve more respect from everyone. They are the seventh seed in the Western Conference and Utah is not looking to fall from the ranks. Derrick Favors will play a major role in the success of this team moving forward and he will continue to perform on both sides of the ball. Is Derrick Favors overlooked? Yes, but not for long.