Derrick Favors wants the minutes and he wants them now

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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.”

via The next big thing: Utah Jazz’s Derrick Favors looking to have a breakout season | Deseret News.

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.

 

(HT: IAmAGM.com)

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.