One of my favorite things about the NBA is the incredible hope that is often attached to every player. Every year in the draft, comparisons are tossed around like a wiffle ball on the Fourth of July.
“He’s the next Kareem. His playmaking reminds me of Magic Johnson. His fundamentals are on par with Larry Bird. He’s feisty and competitive like Isiah Thomas. More athletic than Shaq.”
In Utah, the next big thing is a big young kid who goes by Derrick Favors. The 6’10” forward highlighted the Deron Williams trade, and has potential dripping off of his 250 lbs frame. He’s had flashes of dominance, including a solid defensive performance against San Antonio in the brief playoff series in 2012.
But this season will be his third season in the association, and it’s time to make a difference. Standing in his way are veterans Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. But, for a player who has been compared to Dwight Howard, surely he will be able to play his way past two players that definitely aren’t at Superman-like levels of production.
Jazz fans, as well as fans who enjoy watching the game, are excited to see how Favors develops this year. Will he capitalize on his talent to become a starter?
So for every second year forward/center that plays well and teases the fan base, remember that the development into All-Star doesn’t happen to every player. Some big men become franchise cornerstones, and some become career journeymen.
While I hope Favors doesn’t develop into the next Stromile Swift (because that would suck for the Denver-Utah rivalry) this season is really important. If the coaching staff doesn’t provide opportunities for Favors to develop into a productive player for the Jazz, they risk stunting his growth and forcing him to develop poor habits on the bench.
Time will only tell, or as the eloquent, recently un-retired Rasheed Wallace once said, “Ball don’t lie.” Let’s see what happens when the ball is on the court.