Watching Derrick Favors dominate games night in and night out on the defensive end I thought I would dig in a little deeper and see how much an impact he is having and how much it depends who he is on the floor with.
Favors has played 41% of his minutes this year with Kanter on the floor, 438 of 1006. Kanter is going to be a nice player, but with the two of them on the floor the Jazz have struggled to score and in turn it has hurt them defensively.
When Favors plays with Kanter the Jazz defensive rating (using Basketball value’s #’s) is 108.1. This is very poor. It puts the Jazz near the bottom of the NBA.
However, once Favors is on the floor with veterans the Jazz become one of the elite defensive teams in the NBA. When Favors is on the floor without Kanter the Jazz defensive rating is 99.1. Putting this in perspective the Bulls are the best in the NBA at 97.7; followed by Philly 98.9; Boston 99.7; and Miami 100.5. The Jazz 99.1 with Favors on the floor with Jefferson or Millsap would be the third best in the NBA.
Digging a little deeper these amazing defensive numbers are based on the play of the Jazz big defensive line-up. When the Jazz are playing Millsap at the 3; Favors at the 4 and Jefferson at the 5 they have been impenetrable defensively. They are allowing a defensive rating (pts per 100 possessions of 78.5) That is unheard of. When Kanter is the 5 rather than Al the rating is still very strong at 87.3.
The big line-up has been defensively off the charts but the difference maker is Millsap at the three. When Jefferson and Favors play together the Jazz are not great defensively allowing 106.4 but the minute you add Millsap into the mix as the three you hit the incomprehensible 78.5.
When Favors and Millsap play together in the front court the Jazz defense returns to close to an elite level allowing 101.5 pts per 100 possessions. This would put the Jazz near the top 5 for the season.
Surprisingly, the big line-up with Jefferson has also been great on the offensive end, averaging 114 pts per 100 possessions. When Kanter is in the game in the place of Jefferson the defense holds but the offense struggles.
The Jazz are nearly the same offensively if Favors is playing with Millsap or Jefferson. With Jefferson the Jazz average 105.3 points and with Millsap they average 104.1. Both of those are solid and if the Jazz are playing defense anywhere near the 99.1 level this team would win a ton of games.
Finally, the Jazz differential this season with Favors in the game and Kanter out of the game is 6.5 this would make them the 4th best team in the NBA just ahead of San Antonio. Of course, this is skewed by the dominance of the Jazz line-up of Millsap, Favors and Jefferson this season which has a differential of 35.7.