Derrick Favors isn’t pushy. He’s not unreasonable. He doesn’t mind coming off the bench. But he wants his minutes, and he wants them now.
In an interview with the Deseret News, the Jazz forward made it pretty clear he’s ready to have the training wheels taken off.
“I want to play more than what I played last year,” Favors admitted. “If it’s starting, cool. If it’s coming off the bench, cool. I don’t mind. I just want to play more. I don’t want to sit on the bench no more.”
The issue, naturally, is that the Jazz have forced themselves into a position where they have all these big men. For years, they’ve claimed this was a gift, not a curse, that it allowed them flexibility, depth, and options. But the problem is that eventually the younger guys are going to want minutes that the Jazz can’t provide by taking them away from the established players like Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.
But there’s an easier solution, here.
Favors, Millsap, and Jefferson played just 110 minutes last season over 10 games, and were +30 in those games. There are obviously lineups where you can’t throw that combination out against and expect to survive. But in today’s position-flexible NBA, that’s not a bad option to have and implement on a regular basis. Favors is fast and athletic enough to hang with the more modern NBA small forwards, and the size on the other end gives them an advantage. They were +29.6 per 100 possessions with that trio, and that’s a pretty great number, even if it is a terribly small sample size. It might be worth exploring more.
But with Paul Millsap’s free agency looming on the horizon, consider this piece of information a potential bit of foreshadowing.
ATLANTA (AP) — Rookie forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who originally came to Atlanta on a two-way contract, has signed a multi-year deal with the Hawks.
Cavanaugh has averaged 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19 games, including one start, since signing the two-way contract on Nov. 5.
Cavanaugh, from Syracuse, New York, played two seasons at Wake Forest before transferring to George Washington, where he averaged 18.3 points and 8.4 rebounds last season. He was selected the National Invitation Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 2016 after leading the Colonials to the NIT title.
Carlos Boozer went from being known as a gritty second-rounder to an overpaid defensive liability.
In some ways, that’s the ultimate success story.
Now, after playing last season in China, he’s walking away.
Boozer on ESPN:
I’m officially retired.
The Cavaliers drafted Boozer with the No. 35 pick in the 2002. After he spent a couple productive seasons in Cleveland, the Cavs declined his cheap team option to make him a restricted free agent – with an agreement he’d re-sign at a reasonable rate if you ask them, with no handshake deal if you ask him.
Boozer bolted for the Jazz, who gave him a six-year, $68 million contract. He made a couple All-Star teams and helped Utah reach the conference finals.
The Bulls are 5-0 since Nikola Mirotic returned from an injury suffered when Bobby Portis punched him in the face during a preseason practice. Mirotic and Portis are both excelling individually, and Chicago has outscored opponents by a whopping 34.3 points per 100 possessions when those two share the court.
When asked if the two former combatants have spoken yet, Mirotic said, “We did on the floor. We’ve always spoken because we need to have good communication.” As for whether they’ve talked off the floor, however, Mirotic was succinct in his response: “No.”
I guess Mirotic hasn’t completely moved on, though he said he did. But that’s fine. How could someone get past a teammate punching him in the face?
Importantly, this is becoming just a regular NBA problem. The extent of that practice punch was practically unprecedented. But plenty of players have loathed teammates while making it work on the court. That happens more than people realize.
Mirotic and Portis can make this their status quo – at least the on-court cooperation. I’m not convinced Chicago will keep winning like this.
Watch Kobe Bryant’s ‘Dear Basketball’ short film (video)