The 9th Best Player Performance of 2017-18

August 29th, 2018 | by Clint Johnson

Derrick Favors dominated inside to the tune of 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks on 80-percent shooting from the field in the Jazz’s 125 – 85 dismantling of the Magic. Not only did this game get the Jazz their first road win of the season, but it earned the ninth spot on our countdown. (Utah Jazz)

Leading up to start of the 2018-19 Utah Jazz season, Salt City Hoops is counting down the ten best player performances from last season. See games that just missed the top ten here and also check out last week’s post on #10 to get the countdown started!

#9: Derrick Favors, November 18, 2017

Jazz 125, Magic 85 in Orlando

25 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 83% field goals, 5 of 5 free throws. [31.6 PIE, 28.4 GmSc]1

Context

This was Utah’s fifth game without Rudy Gobert, who had gone down with a season-altering knee injury, and the Jazz were desperate. They had lost six of their past seven contests. This would be their third game in four nights. And at this point they were the only team without a single road win, having lost all six away from Salt Lake City. A shot at the playoffs looked to be disappearing rapidly.

Why It Makes the List

Gobert’s injury was even more crushing than the simple loss of an All-NBA player.

The franchise and its fanbase were still smarting from Gordon Hayward jilting them that summer for the Celtics. Ricky Rubio appeared early on to be, at best, a problematic replacement for George Hill, who had been awesome when healthy the previous season, especially in combination with Utah’s huge starting lineup featuring Gobert and Derrick Favors at power forward. Dante Exum had suffered another potentially season-ending injury, this time to his shoulder. And Rodney Hood, Utah’s anointed offensive leader, was averaging less than 17 points per game and had been relegated to the bench for erratic production and lack of assertiveness.

While Donovan Mitchell was a pleasant surprise, to this point he was still scoring fewer than 15 points per contest.

It was dark, dark days in Jazzland.

Then two related things happened: Favors dominated Orlando and, as a result, the Jazz got a blow-out road victory.

Favors would go on to more than held his own in Gobert’s absence, producing better than 16 points and nine rebounds a contest while blocking a shot and a half per game. The Jazz won seven of those 11 games and stabilized the season enough to eventually make the playoffs by a slim two-game margin. 

If the Jazz had played losing basketball over that stretch as expected, not even Mitchell’s explosion into stardom would have lifted the team to the playoffs. But Favors, finally healthy again, reminded the league his value to the Jazz can’t only be measured in how well he adapts to playing forward in a stretch league — he also serves as a backup center better than most NBA starters2

Take Note

In the past three seasons only five players have produced a game with 25 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks while shooting better than 80-percent from the field: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, DeAndre Jordan, and Derrick Favors. That’s the Jazz’s second best center!

Clint Johnson

Clint Johnson

Clint Johnson is a professional author, writing educator, and editor. He teaches writing at Salt Lake Community College. A frequent presenter at both writing and educational conferences, he writes about the Jazz as a break from his other writing work.
Clint Johnson

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5 Comments

  1. Paul Johnson says:

    Not many teams have a true power forward any more. If the pendulum swings back to more physical power forwards, the Jazz will have one of the best in the league in Derrick Favors–and I think he will increase his versatility even further over the next couple of seasons.

    It’s interesting that the first question Dante Exum asked when he was called about re-signing with the Jazz was whether Derrick Favors had re-signed. I’m not sure why that was, but it appears that he must have some fans among his teammates.

    • Clint Johnson says:

      I find that comment from Exum very revealing as well. My sense is this team really does appreciate each other and are happy to be back intact to take another run at a season.

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