Three most important players to Utah Jazz success in 2017-18

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 23: Joe Johnson
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 23: Joe Johnson /
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SALT LAKE CITY, UT – MAY 8: Derrick Favors
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – MAY 8: Derrick Favors /

No. 2: Derrick Favors

Although Derrick Favors appeared in just 50 games last season and was less than 100 percent healthy for pretty much all of those, the Jazz still managed to stay afloat by logging 51 wins. The fact that they were able to do so even with Favors finding himself in and out of the active roster is the reason why he falls to number two on this list. However, there’s also no doubting that the Jazz were much better off when Favors was contributing.

The Jazz were 33-17 (.660) with Favors on the floor as compared to 18-14 (.563) without him. Utah was also 5-1 in games where he scored 17 points or more and 10-3 in games where he scored at least 13 points. In other words, when Favors was active and playing well, the Jazz were a force to be reckoned with.

Of course, Utah’s ability to survive without him was thanks largely due to Gordon Hayward, among others, but there’s still no denying how much of an impact he had when he was able to contribute. Especially now in Hayward’s absence, Favors will absolutely need to step up in a big way and if he does so, I suspect that the trend of him having big games more often that not turning into Jazz wins will continue.

It’s easy for fans to forget after a disappointing 2016-17 campaign that the two years prior to that Favors was a consistent 16-point, 8-rebound guy who only appeared poised and ready to break out and do even more than that. If he can even get back to his former self from the 2015-16 campaign and stay healthy, he could very well regain his spot as one of Utah’s top players.

The Jazz won nearly 77 percent of their games when Favors scored at least 13 points last season and even though it’s not realistic to suppose that even if he’s able to remain on the floor that he’ll bring about that great of success for the Jazz, getting a consistent output from him would certainly go a long way to helping his team become a force.

Considering how good Favors was so recently and how critical it will be for a guy like him to step up and shoulder the scoring load in the wake of Gordon Hayward’s departure from the team, his ability to bounce back this season will undoubtedly be one of the most important factors influencing Utah’s overall success in 2017-18.