Eyes have been glued to every Dante Exum move, Rudy Gobert has become must watch on the defensive end and Gordon Hayward has proven he can be a star in the NBA. In the midst of all those story lines this year , the quiet kid from Atlanta, Georgia has calmly taken an enormous jump as a player.
In 4 of the last 5 games Derrick Favors has notched a 20 point, 10 rebound game. He has scored 20 points or more in more games this year than he did the entire year last year. He is shooting a career high 55.5%. His scoring jump over the last three years is 9.4 to 13.3 to 16.2. The list continues, career high in assists, free throws attempts, offensive rebounds and lowest turnover per game since his rookie year.
Numerous factors have come together for Favors to make this step. He is a starter for the 2ndyearbuilding off last year’s 73 starts. His weight training work with Mark McKown has been consistent and the dividends are showing. Favors spent hours on end in the off-season working on his mid-range jump. Finally, the new offensive system has moved where Favors is making his plays on the court. Put all of these together in the same stew and a star is emerging in Derrick Favors.
The biggest change of all for Favors is where he is getting the basketball. In the previous offensive system Favors got the ball primarily on the left block. This year he is playing off the elbows more than he has in the past. This allows him to attack from the top or in angle right or angle left.
Compare the shot distribution charts of Favors last year compared to this year.
2013-14 SEASON SHOT DISTRIBUTION
Notice a year ago Favors used 11% of his possessions on the left block last year and this year it is down to 5.9%. It is clear where those possessions have gone. Rather than using 7% of his possession around the free throw line he is using nearly 15% of his possessions from straight away.
By coming from the top Favors has been able to use his quickness rather than his power. He is able to see more of the floor and from where the defenders are converging on him. Think of how the Suns used Amare Stoudamire with Steve Nash in Phoenix.
His effectiveness has changed as well. The strength work has made him a force around the rim. In the chart below you can see he has jumped from 65.5% at the rim to an impressive 72.2%. Of players who take 5 shots or more in the restricted area per game, Favors is 4thbest in the NBA behind DeAndre Jordan, Anthony Davis and Tyson Chandler.
Lastly, this summer Favors stayed in Salt Lake City and lived in the gym. Each day he worked on his jump shot. He told me the #1 area of focus was balance on this jump shot. The work has given Favors an element to his game he never had previously.
|YEAR||Mid Range FG%|
|14-15||40% (45 fgm)|
|13-14||31% (54 fgm)|
|12-13||31% (36 fgm)|
|11-12||29% (21 fgm)|
|10-11||29% (21 fgm)|
More impressive is what Favors is doing from 15 feet and out.
|YEAR||15 Feet+ Shooting|
|14-15||44% (32 fgm)|
|13-14||28% (24 fgm)|
|12-13||23% (17 fgm)|
|11-12||23% (7 fgm)|
|10-11||24% (10 fgm)|
At just 23 years old there is likely more to come for Favors. Each night he is having a larger and larger impact on games. Who defends him is having less impact on how he performs. Maybe most importantly, his effort level has become consistent each night.
This is all part of the process. One of the most commonly heard things from Dennis Lindsey is the Jazz are not going to skip steps. Derrick Favors might be the best example of player going step by step through the development and beginning to come out the other side.