Scaletta’s Summer Top 100 is a ranking of returning NBA players. For a full explanation of our methodology, read our intro.
Back in 2011, the Utah Jazz traded Deron Williams to the then-New Jersey Nets for Derrick Favors, along with a No. 1 pick (which became Enes Kanter), a 2013 No. 1 pick (which became Gorgui Dieng) and Devin Harris.
Harris was traded for Marvin Willimas, who played two years before leaving in free agency. The Jazz bundled Dieng with Shabazz Muhammed to acquire Trey Burke, who so far has been a disappointment. And Kanter was part of a three-team trade which gives the Thunder a first-round and second-round pick in the next draft.
Favors alone, though, was enough for the Jazz to win the trade. According to Basketball-Reference.com, he’s accumulated 29.0 win shares in Utah; Williams had just 24.6 in Brooklyn. And Favors is just hitting his prime.
How much better can Favors get, and how close is the 25-year-old to his ceiling? He’s at a stage of his career where he needs to add aspects to his game to continue his rise. It appears that’s exactly what he’s doing.
He’s 1-of-16 from deep for his career, so it’s definitely a big “stretch” to assume he’s going to explode from deep suddenly. However, if you look at his shot chart, it looks like his current range extends to about a foot or two short of the arc, so it’s not unfeasible that he could add at least be a threat to make a three.
If he can expand his game by expanding the court, his ceiling is All-NBA, or close to it.
The Jazz got a lot better this offseason, and they were already a team on the rise. Trading for George Hill gave them a perfect point guard fit, something they’ve struggled finding. That also adds another guy who is going to be taking his fair share of shots, though, which could mean fewer for Favors. As a result, his scoring numbers could take a slight hit.
We discussed what could happen if Favors can stretch the court, but his strength is as a positively devastating rim-runner.
I’ll let fellow Today’s Fastbreak writer, Austin Facer, handle this one:
His game is at its best when he is cutting hard to the rim off the pick and roll.
To be clear, Favors does not just roll to the basket; he STEAMROLLS his way to the hoop. Who would want to get between that man and the basket? Last season, Favors scored the third-most points in the NBA when cutting to the hole, according to the Stats page on NBA.com.
And here’s the illustration:
According to NBA.com, Favors scored 1.11 points per possession as the roll-man last year, totaling 250 points. Only five players scored more points more efficiently.
Favors is a two-way player as well. His +1.80 Defensive Real-Plus Minus was 16th out of 90 power forwards, according to ESPN. When paired with Gobert, the two present arguably the toughest frontcourt duo to score on in the NBA.
Favors does have trouble closing out on three-point shooters, though, which is exhibited by the fact shooters hit 3.6 percent from deep when he is the closest defender on the play. However, that’s also probably attributed to the lack of defense at the 1 for the Jazz last year. With the return of Dante Exum and the arrival of George Hill, those problems should be solved.