Prior to the start of the Utah Jazz season, I wrote a JazzRank piece centered around how important Favors and his progression as a player was for the future of the organization. Alongside the pressures of being one of the biggest cornerstones of the Jazz, Favors also had to learn how to gel into Quin Snyder’s new high-energy offense. With the hiring of Snyder, Favors has had three different head coaches during his five year career. While Favors has definitely made an imprint in the league during his short career, his progression as a player might have been hindered by the lack of having a stable coaching environment.
As we continue to glide through the first month of the NBA season, it looks like the addition of Quin Snyder has lead to Derrick Favors continute to progress as an offensive player. Under Snyder’s new high-energy offensive approach that centers around ball movement and a lot of different off-ball screens, Favors finally has an opportunity to fully utilize his natural athleticism.
By working inside a fast-paced offense that’s a lot more open, Favors has plenty of opportunities to work off-ball. Because he’s a lot quicker than your standard front-court player, Favors is able to cut past the competition to get an open look around the rim. That ability is clearly showcased by Favors shooting 75% from inside the restricted area, which exceeds the likes of Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge.
While off-ball penetration has a lot to do with that remarkable shooting percentage, Favors continues to make gradual strides as a post-up player. Rather than spending multiple seconds while working against another big, Favors is a lot more quick and fluid with his work in the low-post. Within seconds, Favors decides whether to lace up a right-handed hook shot or work his way to the rim, which prevents the opposition from getting in position to potentially defend his shot attempt.
In other aspects of the offensive game, Favors has basically maintained the same averages from the prior year. For example, Favors is averaging 2.8 offensive boards per game (2.7 per game in ’13-’14). While the lack of improvement might appear to be worrisome, it’s still better than the likes of Nikola Vucevic, DeMarcus Cousins and Andrew Bogut.
On the defensive end, the case for Derrick Favors’ improvement becomes a bit more sketchy. When you take a look at Favors’ numbers via NBA Stats’ defensive dashboard (graph below), he appears to come out as an extremely solid inside presence. Compared to the net average, players have an extremely low field goal percentage from inside the restricted area when they’re going against Derrick Favors.
However, when you look at the grand scheme of Utah’s defense, those numbers really haven’t been able to help make the team better on that end. Entering Tuesday night, the Jazz had the 29th worst defensive rating in the NBA (113.0), which is only exceeded by the awful Los Angeles Lakers (117.0). While player tracking is definitely in favor of Derrick Favors, the 6’11 forward hasn’t been able to make a big enough impact to help push the Jazz out of the defensive gutter.
|Team True Shooting %||57.4||52.1|
Besides the uncertainty surrounding his work on the defensive end, it appears that the addition of Quin Snyder has definitely helped Favors become a more consistent offensive player. Under Snyder, Favors has become the main focal point of the team which is apparent from his career-high 22.9 USG%. While most players would lose their consistency with having an elevated role, Favors’ field goal percentage has elevated to a career-high 54%.
While that consistency might taper off as the season wares on, Favors impact on the team is extremely apparent. Having a skilled, athletic forward like Favors is absolutely key for Quin Snyder’s offense to continue to improve. And as that improvement does happen, the Utah Jazz fanbase will have a lot more fun as the season goes on.