It has been nearly two weeks since the Deron Williams trade and the Jazz are still trying to find out what they have in Derrick Favors and Devin Harris. The two players have only played a combined 272 minutes, which is way too small of a sample size to start judging that portion of the trade. (We won’t know about the success of the two draft picks for awhile, so it will be even longer before we can judge the second part of the trade. In other words it is going to be a long time before we know if this trade was a net positive, negative or neutral for the Jazz.)
However, I am impatient, so I reached out to Mark Ginocchio of the Truehoop Nets blog Nets are Scorching. For anyone interested in the Nets or the NBA in general I highly recommend this blog. I had read some of his opinions on the trade and wanted to ask him some questions on Derrick Favors and Devin Harris. Below are my questions and his insightful answers
KM - I heard rumors that Devin Harris was frustrated with losing and wasn’t giving as much effort as he did early in his career. Are these rumors true? Did you see a consistent effort from Harris or do you think that he would only play hard in certain situations?
MG – Let me preface this by saying that Devin Harris was really put through a lot this season, starting in the preseason when he was first mentioned as trade bait in a Carmelo Anthony deal. He’s said all the right things, and while he’s dealt with his share of injuries, I never thought he was milking an injury due to lack of interest or effort (a la Vince Carter in Toronto). However, I do think Harris suffers from some focus issues and he didn’t seem to appreciate Avery Johnson’s micromanaging. There are games where Harris appears like he’s looking to score first, create second and then there are times where he’s looking to pass too much, rather than take an open shot or create for his slumping team. And he’s always been a wild card on the defensive end. He was one of the best defensive PGs I’d ever seen when he was in Dallas, but since he’s come to the Nets, his effort and focus on that end had to be questioned, especially during last seasons’ 12-win campaign.
KM - Derrick Favors – was he someone you wanted to draft? Was the plan all along to bring him along slowly? Did it concern you that he only played 19 minutes a game, while other rookie post players Demarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe were playing 27 and 26 minutes a game respectively? If you could go back in time would you have had the Nets draft someone else?
MG – Once the Nets lost the John Wall sweepstakes, I think the idea for front office was to draft Favors and to use his boundless potential as trade bait for a “superstar” player. He was the centerpiece for any talks for Anthony, and obviously a key to the Deron Williams trade.
He’s just so raw, but he has crazy athleticism and good defensive instincts (though he picks up way too many stupid fouls). I would have loved getting to watch him come around slowly, but I obviously understand why the Nets would shop him for guys like Deron and ‘Melo (more so Deron). Giving that the Nets were almost certain to trade that pick, I can’t imagine wanting someone else. Cousins is a head case and would probably scare some teams off, and nobody else taken after Favors seems to have his ceiling as an athletic freak.
KM – Derrick Favors – He seems like an active rebounder, but when it comes to shooting he is limited to dunks and layups. Are there any insights you had while watching Favors play?
MG – Favors can also mix in a mid-range jumper from time-to-time but I don’t think he’s ever going to be a traditional stretch-four. However, a lot of his offensive limitations, at least with the Nets, were brought on because the team never called any sets for Favors. He was on the floor primarily to rebound, block shots, and scavage points through putbacks and easy dunks. I don’t think Avery Johnson ever had any confidence in him as an offensive player.
KM – Harris and Favors – The Jazz have really struggled defensively (20th in defensive efficiency). Will Harris and Favors help there?
MG – Provided that Favors can stay on the floor, I say yes. Kris Humphries is a better scorer and rebounder than Favors, but the team still had a better defensive efficiency when Favors was on the floor as opposed to Hump. As for Harris, as I said earlier, it depends on where his effort and focus level are. When he’s 100%, Harris can be a lockdown defender, but he hasn’t really focused on that aspect of his game since his Dallas days.