Derrick Favors recently had a chance to reunite with his former Jazz teammates when the New Orleans Pelicans hosted the Utah Jazz in a preseason game. There was plenty of love to go around on the team social media page and among his former teammates. Why is he such a beloved Jazz man? With every Favors there are at least five other former players we’d like to forget. Some of those guys are Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, and anyone named Trey. What makes Favors stand out so much? There are plenty of reasons so it’s time to take a stroll down memory lane.
February 23, 2011: A journey begins
Derrick Favors was the start of a new and rough era for the Jazz. He was here in the down years and was here to celebrate some good years in the Jazz Renaissance. He was one of the main pieces we picked up in the Deron Williams trade. The Jazz also received Devin Harris and two first round picks. The Jazz used one of those picks to pick Enes Kanter third overall in the NBA draft.
While Harris and Kanter had their moments, their only playoff appearance resulted in a first round sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. Kanter ended up saying a lot of negative things about the Jazz and demanded to be traded. Harris was just a little past his prime. Favors was the young stud that looked like the future for the Jazz.
While he never made an All-Star game, he may just be one of the most underrated Jazz players of all time. He always hustled and defended well. He was also a beast in the post. 2011 was the start of many positive moments with Favors on the Jazz.
2013-2015: The Down Years
Although the Jazz tanked out at 25 wins in the 2013-2014 season, they could only go up from there. Ty Corbin was fired and it’s hard to knock on him. It’s hard to be the guy who replaces the guy and Jerry Sloan was indeed the guy.
The Jazz got a new promising young coach in Quin Snyder who had great stunts as a college coach in Missouri and an assistant on many NBA teams. The Jazz improved every year in the win column for a while. They won 38 games in the 2014-2015 season and Derrick was a big part of that. He posted some of his best stats in this time where he was arguably the best player on the team. He averaged 16 points per game in the 2014-2015 season. He was also grabbing over 8 rebounds a game. Without Favors the Jazz never would have improved and we might still be in the Jazz Dark Ages.
December 5, 2015: Favors Career High Points
The Jazz were showing that they could seriously contend for a playoff spot and Christmas definitely came early for the Jazz when they hosted the Indiana Pacers on a cold December night. The Jazz beat the Pacers by 3 points in overtime and Favors was the best player in the game. Gordon Hayward did contribute 22 points but Favors did score 35 points while recording a double double with 13 rebounds. This helped the Jazz improve to 9-9 on the season.
The highlights of the game were every time Favors touched the ball. He was making fifteen foot jump shots, layups, and everything he put up. The biggest play of the game was when he made a lay up while being fouled and hit the extra free throw to tie the game up.
Keep in mind Paul George and the Pacers were a tough Eastern Conference team that was contending for conference championships. Paul George had a chance to make a game winning shot but missed. In overtime Derrick Favors hit another critical shot down low to end the game 122-119. Paul George did have 48 points but that night Favors was the star of the show.
2016-2019: Switching Roles
After barely missing the playoffs in 2016, the Jazz made key moves in the offseason to build a team that could return to the playoffs. They signed key veterans George Hill, Boris Diaw and Joe Johnson. Favors was able to learn from mentors which would later prepare him to be a mentor himself.
On July 4, 2017 Favors became the longest tenured Jazz man with the departure of All-Star teammate Gordon Hayward. It seemed like the Jazz were destined for more tough years especially when they had a rough start the next year. However, the Jazz made a surge the second half of the year and again made it to the second round of the playoffs.￼￼
Favors accepted his role to come off the bench at times since the Jazz were more potent offensively with Jae Crowder on the floor. It is worth mentioning though that with Favors on the floor the Jazz were really elite defensively. Some numbers even suggest that they were more positive defensively when Favors was on the floor than when Gobert was.
There were several times that Favors was in trade rumors but the Jazz stuck with him until it became beneficial for both sides to move on.￼
A New Chapter:
The Jazz have begun a master plan to win a championship by acquiring high power offensive players like Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic. Unfortunately that didn’t leave enough space in the salary cap to retain Derrick Favors. The two sides parted ways respectfully and a trade was made to the Pelicans for two second round draft picks. Favors was certainly worth more than that but the Jazz were mostly just trying to clear cap space to sign their new players.
“I still love Utah.” -Derrick Favors
So, when you go to Jazz games please remember to boo Gordon Hayward, boo Enes Kanter and anyone named Trey. However, do not boo Derrick Favors. He would run through a brick wall for Jazz nation and some of us die hards might just do the same for him.