Rookie Retrospective: Derrick Favors January 17, 2011 Matt Kamalsky
The youngest player in the NBA right now, we first wrote about Derrick Favors almost four years ago. As top player in the 2009 high school class and a prospect we, and every other outlet in the business of covering prep and college basketball, have written about extensively over the past few years, it is easy to forget that the Atlanta native is just 19 years old. After a non-descript season in a less than desirable situation at Georgia Tech, Favors was the third overall pick in the 2010 draft thanks to the upside grounded in his tremendous physical tools, smooth athleticism, and budding skill set.
Midway through his rookie season, and sixth months away from his 20th birthday, Favors is a recent addition to the New Jersey starting lineup despite only managing to blend in on a 10-30 Nets team. Much like the rest of the 2010 rookie crop, the raw power forward hasn't hit the ground running or surprised anyone with his play or progress, averaging 6.6 points and 4.9 rebounds on the year in relatively consistent minutes off the bench, despite regular foul trouble.
Though John Wall and Blake Griffin have set the world on fire as rookies, it is important to remember that Favors was not a college star. Few expected him to show more than flashes of things to come this season, and considering the looming trade speculation he's had to deal with, the dysfunctional team he's playing on and the dry spells he fought through at Georgia Tech, it is surprising that he hasn't hit the rookie wall or grown frustrated on the bench.
Some of Favors's steady but unspectacular performance can be explained by his role offensively, and while there's a lot of basketball left to be played this season, Favors seems to have found a niche, at least for the time being, as a hustle player. If nothing else, this season has been a promising one for Favors as he's gotten a taste of what it means to be a pro without taking any steps backward. The question is when he'll begin to take the steps forward that made him a top prospect.
Part One: Role
“Due to the situation he's in, he's been forced to create too much of his offense by himself this year, which is not something he's comfortable doing at this point in time…
Whoever drafts him must be patient though, as it's unlikely that he'll be ready to compete for Rookie of the Year honors, and he surely isn't ready to play a major offensive role right away. Players with his natural tools are incredibly hard to come by, though, which is exactly why he won't have to wait very long before hearing his name called on draft night.”
-NCAA Weekly Performers, 2/16/10
One of the biggest factors in Favors's consistency as a rookie has been the role he's played offensively. As we noted last spring, the athletic big man appeared raw when looking to create his own shot with his basket, something he was forced to do regularly out of necessity since the guards around him struggled to create easy looks for him. Some 35% of Favors's touches came in post-up situations in his single college season, despite his relatively weak footwork and inability to establish great position down low. That type of usage is usually reserved for polished, experienced underclassmen, not an untested freshman only scratching the surface of his potential.
This season, post-ups have accounted for just 13.3% of Favors's possessions according to Synergy Sports Technology. This sharp decline in post usage has allowed Favors to play to his strengths, mask many of his weaknesses, and play low-turnover basketball, but has also limited his opportunity to experience the learning curve all young big men face in developing their skill-level as well. Though the role he's playing is more tailored to a third or fourth big off the bench, it aligns well with what we've seen from him in the past and has allowed him to gain experience and develop at his own pace.
Playing next to Brook Lopez, Favors has functioned almost exclusively as a complementary, hustle player—which makes sense considering his post repertoire and jump shot have not emerged as consistent tools for him. Averaging under five field goal attempts per game this season, Favors has not yet shown to be ready to be a first, second, or even third option for the Nets. His athleticism has been a great asset since he hasn't been asked to create his own offense, knock down midrange shots, or make plays in crunch time.
While he's clearly being brought along slowly, his current level of efficiency isn't a giant step back from where he was last season, and there is something to be said for showing well in limited action. Unfortunately, his skill set has not undergone any major changes.
Part Two: Post Offense
“Offensively, Favors is fairly limited as a shot-creator in the half-court, showing raw footwork and little in the ways of a go-to move, struggling to finish with his left hand and being fairly turnover prone when forced to put the ball on the floor…
He has good touch around the basket and a very nice looking jump-hook shot, but still hasn't grown into his outstanding frame quite enough to establish deep position in the paint.”
Despite post play not comprising a big part of his offensive role, Favors has made some subtle improvements in his rookie season that are worth noting, even if he hasn't made any major strides from last season. The most notable improvement Favors has made lies in his ability to turn over his right shoulder on the block and use his left hand. Though he showed a willingness to use his left hand in the post last season, he often looked uncomfortable and out of control doing so. Clearly more patient this season, Favors's lack of footwork still limits his ability to create good looks for himself around the basket, and while he hasn't converted many of the left handed hooks he's attempted, his touch with his left hand appears softer than it was at Georgia Tech.
Though that wrinkle in his scoring ability bodes well for his development, it hasn't spelled production in the short-term and is just one of a bevy of areas Favors will need to work on to reach his long-term potential. Still learning how to use his athleticism at the NBA level, Favors has done a better job establishing position on the block, but needs to continue working on his exceptional frame to make the game easier for himself. He'll also need to polish his post moves to improve on his less than ideal 36.7% shooting in post-up situations. He's cut down considerably on the shots he takes moving away from the rim, but still hasn't found a comfort zone or go-to-move in the paint.
Still a ways away from developing the blend of polished footwork and calculated explosiveness that allows players like Amare' Stoudemire to dominate offensively, Favors's ability to develop a comfort level creating and finishing scoring opportunities this summer will be key to what he's able to contribute next season.
Part Three: Overall Offense and Mentality
“Favors converts a super-efficient 59% of his field goal attempts, a testament to his terrific finishing ability. Unfortunately he takes only 7.5 shots per game, as his teammates are often unwilling or unable to get him the ball in a position to score. The more wide open style of the NBA game should benefit him in this regard, both in transition (where he truly excels) and as a pick and roll finisher in the half-court.
Favors' agility makes him a magnet for drawing fouls, but he hasn't been able to knock down his free throws at a very consistent rate—hitting just 59% of his attempts. He shows great potential with his long strides and terrific first step, but is still too raw to be relied on consistently in isolation situations. Nevertheless, this is an area he can improve in rapidly with the better spacing he'll find in the NBA.
As a jump-shooter Favors has been incredibly streaky over the course of the year…His shooting mechanics don't look terrible, especially when he's not rushing his shots (an issue at times), but some of the bad misses he has on occasion certainly do. This is unfortunate considering the strides we saw him make from the perimeter over the course of his high school career.”
-NCAA Weekly Performers 2/16/2010
While Favors still has a ways to go in the post, the things he did and did not do well on the college level have manifested themselves in his numbers as a rookie. He still struggles with his jump shot and is limited from the foul line, but with nearly two-thirds of his offense coming in basic catch-and-finish situations resulting from offensive rebounds, cuts, transition, or rolls to the basket in the two-man game, Favors has been able to rely on the length and athleticism that made him an efficient college scorer.
While Favors's efficiency as a finisher is already living up to expectations, Avery Johnson has made it clear that he wants to see more from the rookie forward. Though his laid back demeanor has helped him weather constant trade speculation, Favors doesn't show the type of fire on the court that would help him take his game to the next level. He isn't the type of player that imposes his will on opposing defenders at this juncture, whether that be in the post or when scrapping for a rebound.
One of the most important pieces of the puzzle for Favors as he matures will be his assertiveness and intensity on the offensive end—something that we've noted going back to his high school days. His activity level is more than passable, as evidenced by his offensive rebounding numbers, but to help ease his transition from bench player to full time starter, he'd benefit immensely from being more aggressive on the offensive end, even if that simply means making a concerted effort to exploit his speed in fast break situations or making contact with defenders around the rim whenever a shot goes up.
Jim Hlavac / DraftExpress
Part Four: Physical Tools and Defense
“Favors is incredibly gifted from a physical standpoint, showing a combination of length and athleticism that is simply unparalleled at the college level. He runs the floor like a deer, is outrageously explosive around the rim, and is a fantastic target for entry-passes thanks to his terrific hands and the amazing extension he gets around the basket.
Defensively, Favors has all the tools needed to become an elite player down the road, even if his lack of experience definitely shows at times, mainly in the form of cheap fouls. His terrific length and timing already make him an imposing shot-blocking threat at the college level, and his excellent lateral quickness allows him to step out onto the perimeter, hedge screens and stay in front of smaller players attacking the basket with the greatest of ease. As he gets stronger, he shouldn't have too much of an issue seeing minutes at the center position from time to time in smaller up-tempo lineups in today's NBA.”
Looking back on our take on Derrick Favors's athleticism from last season, it isn't hard to see why he's been so effective on the offensive glass and why many of the assertions we made about his defensive presence still ring true in the NBA, for better or worse.
While Favors has had some success in terms of efficiency on the offensive end, his overall productivity has clearly been limited by his inability to stay out of foul trouble. Ranking as the most foul prone player in the NBA averaging over 15 minutes per game, Favors can't seem to buy a break on the defensive end, looking a bit too aggressive at times, and a bit too tentative in others.
His lateral quickness allows him to defend the perimeter and midrange very effectively for a rookie power forward, but his lack of fundamentals and discipline in the post render him less than effective against savvy veterans with advanced back to the basket skills. Favors's 7'4 wingspan is a constant factor when he's contesting shots, allowing him to close out shooters quickly and give a bigger cushion when is rotating to the outside. Unfortunately, it doesn't always help him in post, where he has a hard time staying on his feet and being physical without fouling.
A gifted rebounder who boxes out well, Favors has all the making of a fine defender on the NBA level. The tools are there, it is just a matter of how quickly he develops the fundamentals to use them.
Looking back at what we wrote about Favors last season and analyzing what he's accomplished so far in the NBA, we can safely draw many of the same conclusions we did last season. An athletic marvel too gifted not to make an impact on the glass and around the rim in his time on the floor, Favors is too raw on both ends of the court to factor into Rookie of the Year conversations. While players like Landry Fields have outplayed their draft stock by a pretty considerable margin, we won't be able to draw any definitive conclusions about Favors for at least another year or two.
Still, it's not difficult to be excited about his upside, especially when you consider how rare (and important) players of his nature are in today's NBA. In a more stable situation, playing with a better playmaking point guard—such as Ty Lawson—on a more fast-paced team (New Jersey is the 4th slowest-paced team in the NBA, while the Nuggets are the 2nd fastest), there is no reason not to expect Favors to develop rapidly as he enters his 20's. [Read Full Article] Situational Statistics: This Year’s Power Forward Crop June 14, 2010 Derrick Favors didn’t get a ton of possessions to work with at Georgia Tech last year, but he has some impressive and concerning statistics on his situational resume.
At 12.1 possessions per-game, Favors ranks right around the average in terms of usage in our rankings. He actually falls behind Patrick Patterson, who notably sacrificed some of his touches to Kentucky’s freshman class. Favors didn’t benefit from playing next to a host of combo guards and no true playmaker with the mentality to get him the ball as often as possible around the rim. In limited touches, Favors shot an impressive 61.3% from the field (1st) and scored 1.0 PPP (5th).
Receiving some 92% of his touches in half court sets, Favors shot an incredible 84.2% in one fast break touch per-game, but still managed to connect on 59.5% of his other shots. He received roughly 35% of his possessions in post up situations, scoring a point on 43% of those touches. His 0.844 PPP is just average, and his turnover percentage of 21.5% ranks pretty high. Ranking as the fourth most turnover prone player in this sample at 20.9% overall, Favors clearly has to improve his ability to hold onto the ball and likely could have been the most efficient scorer in our sample if he hadn’t given away such a large portion of his possessions.
Favors’ role at GT is clear in the percentage of possessions he had to create for himself by crashing the glass. While his athleticism certainly played a role, Favors got nearly 20% of his touches by pulling down his teammate’s missed shots, something that his future coach probably won’t mind in the least bit. His interior oriented role is very evident in the 0.4 spot-up possessions per-game Favors used.
Favors may have get just 0.62 PPP on his 0.9 jumpers per-game, showing that he’ll need time to develop as a midrange, but his 72.1% shooting on finishing opportunities is outstanding. It seems clear that when Favors got the ball in position to score last season, he excelled, and that will help him early in his career, but the development of his post and midrange arsenal will be a key to his learn-term success as a player. [Read Full Article]
Analyzing the NBA Combine Measurements May 22, 2010 Derrick Favors' measurements (6-8 ¾ without shoes, 7-4 wingspan, 9-2 standing reach) are excellent as well, giving him enough size and length to slide into the center position (once he bulks up) and giving him terrific dimensions for a power forward. As the youngest player in the draft, Favors needs to continue to add bulk to his 245-pound frame, but that doesn't appear to be an issue at all. As time moves on, he will continue to fill out and add muscle in the weight room.
Interestingly enough, Favors' measurements compare quite favorably with those of Dwight Howard, a player he draws some (perhaps slightly optimistic) comparisons to. Howard measured just a quarter of an inch taller than Favors at the same age, was five pounds lighter and had a wingspan just half an inch longer. His measurements are comparable to the likes of Chris Bosh, Nene and Emeka Okafor, and are superior to those of Al Horford, another player who he's often compared to.
NCAA Weekly Performers, 2/16/10 February 16, 2010 Jonathan Givony
Ranked as the #1 overall prospect in the 2009 high school class, expectations were always going to be extremely high for Georgia Tech big man Derrick Favors. And while he's certainly shown plenty of glimpses of his outstanding potential, it's tough not to be slightly disappointed in the production he's achieved thus far--relative to other members of his class at least.
Before analyzing his strengths and weaknesses, it's very much necessary to take a look at the situation Favors has found himself in at Georgia Tech, a team that struggles badly in the half-court and relies extremely heavily on their defense and offensive rebounding ability to keep them in games. They have little in the ways of perimeter shooting, suffer from very poor spacing on the perimeter, and have given their opponents few reasons not to pack it in defensively and just try and control the paint.
With no playmakers on the roster to create easy looks for him or even consistently make a fundamentally sound post-entry pass, and clearly playing redundantly alongside a big man with almost the same exact strengths and weaknesses as him in Gani Lawal, Favors' weaknesses could not possibly be magnified or exposed any worse than they already have.
Favors' profile as an NBA prospect is pretty cut and dry, and have been analyzed in a fair amount of depth in the many times we evaluated him over the course of his high school career. He's incredibly gifted from a physical standpoint, showing a combination of length and athleticism that is simply unparalleled at the college level. He runs the floor like a deer, is outrageously explosive around the rim, and is a fantastic target for entry-passes thanks to his terrific hands and the amazing extension he gets around the basket.
Favors converts a super efficient 59% of his field goal attempts (ranking him 11th in our database), a testament to his terrific finishing ability. Unfortunately he takes only 7.5 shots per game, as his teammates are often unwilling or unable to get him the ball in a position to score. The more wide open style of the NBA game should benefit him in this regard, both in transition (where he truly excels) and as a pick and roll finisher in the half-court—especially with more talented shot-creating guards alongside him.
Offensively, Favors is fairly limited as a shot-creator in the half-court, showing raw footwork and little in the ways of a go-to move, struggling to finish with his left hand and being fairly turnover prone when forced to put the ball on the floor.
Due to the situation he's in, he's been forced to create too much of his offense by himself this year, which is not something he's comfortable doing at this point in time. He has good touch around the basket and a very nice looking jump-hook shot, but still hasn't grown into his outstanding frame quite enough to establish deep position in the paint and finish as well as his terrific athleticism indicates he should. Getting stronger down the road should be able to help him improve his post-game considerably, as it will allow him to set up shop much closer to the basket than he's often able to at the moment.
Favors' agility makes him a magnet for drawing fouls, but he hasn't been able to knock down his free throws at a very consistent rate—hitting just 59% of his attempts. He shows great potential with his long strides and terrific first step, but is still too raw to be relied on consistently in isolation situations. Nevertheless, this is an area he can improve in rapidly with the better spacing he'll find in the NBA—the paint won't be nearly as crowded at the next level as it currently is for Georgia Tech with their lack of perimeter shooting. He must continue to polish his skill-level though.
As a jump-shooter Favors has been incredibly streaky over the course of the year—knocking down just 5/20 attempts according to Synergy Sports Technology, something that has made it increasingly difficult for him to play alongside the similarly perimeter challenged Gani Lawal at the power forward position, one of the reasons he's playing just 26 minutes per game. His shooting mechanics don't look terrible, especially when he's not rushing his shots (an issue at times), but some of the bad misses he has on occasion certainly do. This is unfortunate considering the strides we saw him make from the perimeter over the course of his high school career.
Defensively, Favors has all the tools needed to become an elite player down the road, even if his lack of experience definitely shows at times, mainly in the form of cheap fouls. His terrific length and timing already make him an imposing shot-blocking threat at the college level, and his excellent lateral quickness allows him to step out onto the perimeter, hedge screens and stay in front of smaller players attacking the basket with the greatest of ease. As he gets stronger, he shouldn't have too much of an issue seeing minutes at the center position from time to time in smaller up-tempo lineups in today's NBA.
There are a certain amount of assumptions that are made in projecting the career trajectory of a prospect like Favors—he's a fairly raw player who is still a long ways away from being a finished product, and will have to improve considerably in certain areas. With that said, Favors' terrific intangibles make it quite a bit easier to see him reaching his incredibly high ceiling compared with the likes of a DeMarcus Cousins for example, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him improve rapidly over the next few years.
Whoever drafts him must be patient though, as it's unlikely that he'll be ready to compete for Rookie of the Year honors, and he surely isn't ready to play a major offensive role right away. Players with his natural tools are incredibly hard to come by, though, which is exactly why he won't have to wait very long before hearing his name called on draft night. [Read Full Article] Player Evaluations, McDonald’s All-American Game (East Team) April 4, 2009
Jim Hlavac, DraftExpress
It was good to be able to see Derrick Favors (#1 Scout, #4 Rivals, #2 ESPN¬) in a setting like this, going up against players with similar size and athleticism. Favors didn’t have a shockingly impressive showing over the course of the week relative to his status as the potential #1 overall recruit in the nation, but he clearly displayed his credentials as a terrific long-term prospect once again.
Favors mostly established himself as a finisher this week—not a surprise considering the all-star nature setting. His terrific hands and ability to finish well above the rim on very catch made him a very popular target in the post to drop the ball off to. His footwork looked somewhat limited and he struggled trying to do all that much outside of the paint, but he surely made up for that with his ability to gobble up rebounds on both ends of the floor. Defensively he contested everything around his area, even though he struggled a bit to step out and guard the likes of Renardo Sidney at times, looking somewhat flat-footed in the process, mostly due to his poor technique. This is clearly a part of his game that the coaches at Georgia Tech will work with him on. Favors would surely be a lottery prospect if it weren’t for the one and done rule, but it’s probably a good thing that he’s forced to go to college and develop his all-around game.
HoopHall Classic Scouting Reports, Part One January 20, 2009 One of the most anticipated games of the showcase occurred yesterday between South Atlanta (GA) High School and Oak Hill (VA) Academy - and it did not disappoint. There was a buzz in the gym unlike any other game as there were no empty seats in the bleachers and limited standing room as well. The preverbal buzz however was present less because of the matchup between two top ten teams, but more so because the presence of recent Georgia Tech commit, South Atlanta’s star, Derrick Favors (#1 Scout, #4 Rivals, #2 ESPN).
Favors has a frame and a build that is unlike any other player at the high school level. He’s tall at 6’10”, well defined with broad shoulders, and looks like a prototypical power forward with an excellent wingspan. He is an outstanding athlete – showing it in his ability to elevate for a lob pass and when running the floor in transition to finish on the break as well. He had a couple rebounds and dunks throughout the game that drew many ooh’s and aah’s.
His rebounding in the 1st half is what propelled South Atlanta to their early lead. He snapped, what seemed like every rebound early on and grabbed every one above the rim. His timing was great as well, judging perfectly where a ball would bounce on deep 3’s that were attempted. More importantly, his ability to outlet the ball to lead the break was critical. He immediately looked to half court to find a streaking guard leaking out. Even with this great praise and Favors collecting 10 first half rebounds, there were some flaws in this area.
For one, he never boxes out. This is understandable considering that he doesn’t have to at this level, but in the ACC that will have to change. Additionally, there were instances when he threw great outlets and other times where he rushed it and turned the ball over. Lastly, after an unbelievable first half on the boards, Favors disappeared a bit in the 3rd quarter, largely due to fatigue. He did reawake on the boards in the 4th – but not nearly at the same pace. When he can learn how to maintain his energy level for a full game, his rebounding statistics as well as other statistics will be off the charts.
His offensive game right now is still raw, but he’s definitely improving as he showed a willingness to try new moves. He attempted a few spins in the post, or face-up drives off an inside pivot, but seemed uncomfortable as he was stripped or tied up on several occasions. Other times he showed a nice looking face-up 15 foot jump shot with good mechanics, although right now it’s a bit flat, or quick drop steps for jump hooks over his left shoulder. His biggest problem was how fast he was going. He would catch and try to beat the double team so quickly that he would force the action, leading to bad misses or turnovers. When he can learn to be patient and use ball fakes his success rate will increase. Furthermore, he will need to develop more advanced moves, drop steps and up and unders together with better footwork will serve him well.
His decision making, something that troubles just about every high school player, must improve. He’ll hold the ball a split second too long or dribble one extra time, which throws off the play. Other times, he’ll try to show-off his guard skills by leading the break after a rebound or driving from the top of the key – two things Favors can’t quite do at this stage in his development, although it is nice to see his desire to expand his repertoire.
Although South Atlanta played zone for the whole game with Favors stationed on the left block, he still showed some promising signs on the defensive end. Any interior play by Oak Hill was disrupted by the mere presence of Favors. He forced the Oak Hill players into some tough shots inside and even altered a couple perimeter shots by sprinting out to contest them. As the game progressed however, his value deteriorated, as Favors looked tired and resorted to reaching in on penetrating guards and looked content in giving up open shots in his area. Fatigue was certainly a factor as Favors was seen holding his shorts on several possessions in the 2nd half. The substantial travel he’s been doing together with his team recently likely had a big role in that.
Something that was a bit concerning at times was Favors’ absence in scrums around the basket. There were occasions where there loose balls to be had, and Favors was nowhere to be found trying to get into the mix, instead letting his teammates fend for themselves and often giving up offensive possessions in the process. In a game that his team ultimately lose by 5 points, Favors probably could have done a little bit more in the second half to help South Atlanta come away with the victory. Still, it’s hard not to be impressed by the incredible talent that Favors possesses, and pretty much analyst we spoke with here in Springfield currently has him pegged as the #1 player in the 2009 high school class. [Read Full Article] Battle In Birmingham: DeMarcus Cousins vs Derrick Favors January 16, 2009 Favors (#4 Rivals, #1 Scout, #2 ESPN) has already been covered quite in depth by DraftExpress over the years, so there is no reason to be redundant about the strengths that he already has. It's not hard to tell that you're looking at a very intriguing prospect when you see a player standing 6'9 with great length, terrific leaping ability, a promising frame, and a desire to defend. Rather than spend time on what we have already established about Favors, we opt to track the progress that he has made since we last evaluated him over the summer.
The most glaring change in Favors' game since we last saw him was certainly his ability to shoot the basketball from the perimeter. Always known as a player who strictly played within 8 feet of the basket, he has been working on expanding his game drastically over the last few months. Against Cousins and LeFlore, Favors showed off a gorgeous perimeter jumper that extended all the way out to the three point line. By our count, he drilled 6 jumpers from 15 feet and beyond, including one deep 3-pointer.
Favors also appears to have improved his ball-handling skills and even his footwork on the blocks. He displayed a nice right handed jump hook with a few counter moves, though it was still very clear that he preferred to go to his right instead of his left. The future Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket still has a considerable amount of work to do on his passing skills however, given the double teams that he will likely face at the collegiate level.
Chris Williams/ Icon SMI
Favors was a force on the defensive end, rebounding the ball with great tenacity and blocking quite a few shots (certainly more than he was credited for) while staying out of foul trouble. He must improve upon his lateral foot-speed if he hopes to guard power forwards who like to face the basket, but there is unquestionably a significant amount of potential for the senior on this side of the ball.
Much of Favors’ role at Georgia Tech will depend upon whether star sophomore Gani Lawal declares for this year's NBA Draft. If Lawal sticks around, the Yellow Jackets will have a loaded frontline with Favors, Lawal, and the promising Alade Aminu. However if Lawal bolts to the NBA, there will be an immediate amount of playing time for Favors, including a significant role in the GT offense. Paul Hewitt has been known not to be shy about throwing his heralded freshman into the fire, starting with Chris Bosh and Jarrett Jack, as well as Javaris Crittenton, Thaddeus Young, and current freshman Iman Shumpert. Hewitt also has a reputation for developing players for the next level, which will bode well for Favors who appears to have a very solid work ethic. While it's a bit premature to say that Favors is a sure fire one and done player, he definitely has as good of a chance as any player in the class to bolt after his freshman campaign as long as he continues to develop at this rate. [Read Full Article]
Initial Scouting Reports, High School Class of 2009 (Top 10 recruits) July 28, 2008 Billed as the clear-cut top big man prospect in this class according to virtually all recruiting services, Derrick Favors (#3 Scout, #1 Rivals, #1 ESPN) is not a difficult guy to pick out of a layup line. He has the type of frame and wingspan you expect from a top recruit, although it wouldn’t hurt him to grow another inch or two as he’s not the biggest tallest player you’ll find at just 6-9. Favors is cat-quick in the post getting around players for offensive rebounds, finishing around the rim as well as getting off his feet to block shots. He runs the floor and elevates off the ground with the greatest of ease, looking extremely smooth in the process, particularly finishing with a powerful dunk.
Favors’ biggest asset at the moment revolves around his shot-blocking ability. His length and explosiveness allows him to change everything around the rim, either on the ball or rotating from the weak-side, and gives his team an incredible advantage at this level. He’s also a very capable offensive rebounder for this exact reason.
Offensively, Favors is fairly limited still, which is not a shock considering the stage of development he’s currently at. He has good hands and is very capable at making simple catches and finishes in the post, or at most, beating a guy off a short dribble or two in the paint and elevating over the top of him. Anything more than that usually gets him into to trouble, as he has fairly average footwork, little to no ability to finish with his left hand, and a very clear tendency to spin right into his defender and throw up some very bad shots. At this point he has nothing resembling a mid-range jumper or even a consistent stroke from the free throw line—things that will only come with a lot of hard work. He will also have to work on his ability to pass out of double teams, something he struggled with at times in Vegas in the three times we saw him.
The impression you have of Favors largely depends upon the game you happen to catch of his. At times he can look very dominating, blocking tons of shots, grabbing every rebound, and finishing every pass ferociously inside. In others he’ll look somewhat low energy, not particularly active, and a bit frustrated by an opponent that bodies him up physically and denies him the close proximity to the basket that he needs to be a factor offensively. Players who don’t have the highest skill level around (particularly big men) don’t have the luxury of taking plays off—Favors will have to learn to put forth maximum effort no matter who is going up against.
Although it’s quite obvious why Favors is getting the hype he is (there just aren’t that many big men around anywhere with his physical tools) it’s also incredibly obvious that he has a great deal of work to do before he can be considered ready to think about the NBA. At his size (6-9), Favors is a clear-cut power forward, but is nowhere close to possessing the offensive game you expect from a player at that position. He will have to work significantly on his polish facing the basket and in the low post if he’s going to be able to escape the “role player” tag, but also shouldn’t be in a huge rush at this point, as he still has a year of high school left before entering college. [Read Full Article] adidas Nations Basketball Experience: 2009 High School Prospects August 15, 2007 The most highly touted of any of the players on this team was 6-9 big man Derrick Favors, from Atlanta, Georgia. The #1 overall recruit in the nation according to scout.com (#3 on rivals), Favors did very little to back up the hype he had coming into this event. Maybe he was tired from the long summer of AAU tournaments he just went though, maybe this setting isn’t very conducive to a player of his skill-set, or maybe he’s a tad overrated? We aren’t quite sure at this point. What’s definite is that Favors looked entirely content running up and down the court in disinterested fashion and blending in amongst the crowd. He showed average footwork in the post, very little skills facing the basket, and fairly poor fundamentals. He didn’t call for the ball at all much either on the offense end. Drills and things of that nature are almost completely foreign to him at this point, and he doesn’t appear to be the best coached guy in the world.
With that said, it wasn’t too difficult to see where the intrigue is coming from. Favors is an extremely long and lanky big man with a great frame, excellent athleticism and a very smooth demeanor to him. He plays very good defense and gets up and down the court well, looking very cool and calm at all times, even to a fault.
We were warned in advance that Favors is the type of player who gravitates radically from outstanding to almost invisible depending on what night you catch him on. He’s not always as intense as you might hope if not involved in a big-time match up, so it’s easier to understand why he showed so little in the few times we evaluated him in New Orleans. He got knocked out of the camp late after taking a big time shot to the nose, so we didn’t get to see as much of him as we may have hoped. He’s also only 16 years old, so maybe our expectations were a little too high at the end of the day. It’s obvious from watching him early on that he’s going to have to rack up the intensity if he wants to reach his full potential. [Read Full Article]