Derrick Favors Is Finding His Stride in Year Five With the Utah Jazz


The power forward position in the game of basketball has become as important as the point guard position. Young up-and-coming power forward Derrick Favors has become one of the best young power forwards in the game, but you may not have known that.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets /

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

You might think that Derrick Favors has been playing in obscurity since being drafted with the third overall pick in 2o10 NBA Draft.

He is not playing in obscurity, he has been playing in Utah, and while in Salt Lake City he has been putting up some of the best numbers out of all the young power forwards in the game.

The Utah Jazz went into the All-Star break with a record 19-34, but the young nucleus of Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke have played well together.

Playing in the Western Conference night in and night out is going to have you facing some of the best power forwards in basketball.

Lamarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Blake Griffin, and Serge Ibaka, just to name a few, are power forwards that Favors has to face multiple times in the Western Conference, and he holds his own averaging 15.9 points and 8.1 rebounds on a career high 54% shooting this season with the Jazz.

Favors game has expanded this season under new head coach Quin Snyder.

He has added a face-up game to his repertoire while getting better at getting points with his back to the basket and moving off the ball.

Ben Dowsett, who writes for the True Hoops Network’s “Salt Lake City Hoops”  blog did an excellent piece on the expanding game of Derrick Favors and how he compares to other forwards and centers in the NBA.

He pointed out some very interesting stats that suggest that Favors stock is rising even though you don’t get to see it too often on TV.

For example, Favors ranks 17th in the NBA in “Player Efficiency Rating” according to Hollinger’s Player Statistics on

His 22.11 PER is literally tenths of a point behind big men such as Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Marc Gasol.

Feb 4, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors (15) shoots the ball during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at EnergySolutions Arena. Memphis won 100-90. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Favors has a turnover percentage of 9.0%. That rate is the fifth best among power forwards who are logging 30 minutes or more per contest.

With his rate being under 10%, it puts him in a class of big men that include players such as Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Love and Anthony Davis.

The one thing that Dowsett and I agree on is that the improvement of Favors mid-range game has improved his all-around game.

Being able to knockdown a 15 to 17 foot jumper with relative consistency gives Favors an added advantage because he makes his defender have to think about how he needs to guard him.

Favors if guarded too tightly can put the ball on the floor and drive past his defender. But if his defender gives too much space, Favors can keep that defender honest by hitting the jump shot.

According to Dowsett’s article, Favors has improved his mid-range shooting to 44% on his mid-range shots and 38.6% on shots of at least 16 feet or better.

With Favors game improving, along with the emergence of Rudy Gobert who is turning into a solid post defender, it is no wonder that  Utah Jazz forward Enes Kanter  has started to make rumblings about wanting to be dealt out of Salt Lake City.

Derrick Favors has been seen as a prototypical power forward since his time at Georgia Tech which garnered his being picked No.3 overall in 2010.

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Favors is in a city that is familiar with great power forward play. When Carlos Boozer played in Utah he was pretty good, as well as a certain Hall of Fame power forward in All-Time Jazz leading scorer Karl Malone.

The Jazz obviously feel that Favors can carry on the power forward tradition that they are building in Salt Lake City, and with his game improving game by game, it could happen.

Hopefully Utah is able to keep their young core of Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, and Derrick Favors together.

The old guard in the Western Conference is starting to age and fade away.

Utah may be in a position to get one of those open spots some time in the near future, if they pay to keep Favors in the mix of course.