Derrick Favors Is Quietly Becoming a Star
There's a lot to talk about now that we're a quarter of the way through the 2015-16 NBA season. Items 1 through 10 on the list are basically all Warriors-related, but there's also a lot of buzz about the rookie class, Kobe's retirement tour, the return of Paul George, the terrible Philadelphia 76ers, the buzzing Charlotte Hornets, the slow starts by the New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Washington Wizards, and how the San Antonio Spurs will simply never stop being awesome.
Lost in the shuffle of all the big headlines, though, are certain players that are having the best seasons of their careers without anyone really noticing. One such case is Derrick Favors of the Utah Jazz, who is off to a stellar start to his sixth NBA season.
The Jazz were one of the best teams in the NBA post All-Star break last season, going 19-10 after the festivities and coming in fifth in the entire Association in Net Rating over that period at 6.9. They ultimately missed out on the playoffs, but the future started looking awfully bright for a team led by a budding star in Gordon Hayward and an emerging Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Rudy Gobert.
Favors has been a solid contributor for the Jazz as their starting power forward for the last two seasons, but this season, his averages have all seen a slight bump with Hayward struggling and Gobert sidelined for a while with a sprained left knee:
There is a slight dip in his blocked shots, but the jump in steals coincides with an improved defensive presence overall. His Defensive Rating of 99 is a career best and he's one of only 11 players in the NBA averaging at least one steal and one block per game this year.
The increased efficiency on both ends of the floor has resulted in career bests across the board in most advanced metrics as well:
|Stat||Previous Best||2015-16||NBA Rank|
|Player Efficiency Rating||21.8||25.8||9th|
|Win Shares Per 48 Minutes||.175||.228||8th|
Favors ranks among the game's best and brightest stars in the above categories, putting up what has arguably been an All-Star season at the quarter mark. He might be a little too under-the-radar to earn a selection this season -- especially when the Western Conference's so deep with top-tier frontcourt players -- but if he keeps playing like this, he's already an early favorite to headline the list of this year's biggest snubs.
At the very least, people need to start paying more attention to him and what he has contributed to his team so far this season. The Jazz have been scuffling a little bit at 9-10 and losers of three of their last four, but they still occupy the 7 seed in the West and we give them a 67.3% chance to make the playoffs. If they get that far and end a three-year playoff drought, it will largely be thanks to the inspired and improved play of Derrick Favors.