Utah Jazz vs New Orleans Pelicans: Key Matchup

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Because this season cannot be measured by wins and losses, I have decided it’s beneficial to focus in on key match ups this year.  As this has been dubbed a “season of discovery”, this helps us judge improvement as the season progresses.  By doing so we won’t get as disappointed when we lose as many games as we could lose.  The match up for the Utah Jazz  game tonight against the Pelicans that we should focus on is:


Derrick Favors vs Anthony Davis


This will be the first regular season game I attend this year, and I could not be more excited about seeing Anthony Davis.  Last year was somewhat of a disappointing season for Davis, but he has taken the step necessary to be a franchise player this year.  This kid is looking like a sure fire all-star, and he is only 20 years young.

Derrick and Davis had some similar prognostications before they entered the league.  Both were considered athletic defensive specialists, that would one day develop an offensive game.  To me, this is the intriguing part of this matchup.  Favors has not developed like Anthony, but Davis is unanimously the better of the two.  Their comparable games make this a fun one.

Why has Davis exploded onto the scene this year?  Davis has improved multiple facets of his game, but one of the most amazing is his defense.  Per nba.com, Davis’ opponents average 4.8 field goal attempts at the rim.  These opponents are shooting an abysmal 26.3%!   This conversion rate is second among bigs.  Only Taj Gibson (CHI) is preventing less conversions at 20%, but his opponents only average 3.8 attempts.  This is one area that Favors has slipped as he is allowing 51.4% on 9.3 attempts, which may partially be do to the guards allowing their players to get in the paint.

Davis and Favors have both increased their rebounds over 10 a game.  48% of those rebounds were contested rebounds for Davis, and 43% were contested for Favors. This is remarkable high for both players.  In comparison Dwight Howard, who is leading the league in rebounding, is only contested on 30% of rebounds.  Now neither Davis or Favors are leading the league in rebounding, but they are showing they have the skills to do so.

Offensively Davis has drastically increased is efficiency.  Davis is 8th in the league in points per touch at 0.4.  Favors has had 615 touches on the year, compared to Davis’ 414.  The Jazz are trying to rely on Favors to score, he is just not doing it anywhere near the level of Davis.  This is where I think the matchup will go bad for Favors.  He is being asked a lot offensively, but is not converting at a high rate.  Not only that, but he is going up against one of the elite defenders so far this year.

I truly am excited to see two of the upcoming players that have potential to be “defensive players of the year” talent square off.  They will be on each other most the game, and that’s something that should get us excited about.  We all love Favors talent, and Davis is becoming a “Can’t Miss Seeing” type player.