Utah Jazz Best Case/Worst Case Scenario Series: Derrick Favors

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 5: Derrick Favors #15 of the Utah Jazz looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on March 5, 2017 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 5: Derrick Favors #15 of the Utah Jazz looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on March 5, 2017 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

If healthy, Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors has the potential to be one of the team’s best players. Unfortunately, based on his recent track record, that could be a tall order.

Without a doubt one of the most disappointing aspects of the Utah Jazz’s 2016-17 season was the subpar play of Derrick Favors. After logging a second straight season averaging 16 points and 8 rebounds to conclude the 2015-16 season, many thought he would continue to be a large piece of Utah’s success and potentially even have a break-out year last season.

Unfortunately, the complete opposite ended up being the case as Favors was constantly hindered by injuries and spent much of the year watching from the sidelines. Not only did he play in only 50 games, but his minutes were significantly down as he averaged just 23.7 per night. That led to significantly lowered production of 9.5 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting a less than memorable 48.7 percent from the floor.

It was a disappointing look for a guy that was once considered arguably the best player on the Jazz roster.


However, now with Gordon Hayward out of the mix and with a solid offseason under his belt, Favors should be poised for a major comeback in the upcoming season. All signs have indicated that he’s working his tail off this summer and, especially as he enters a contract year, he should have every reason to play exceptionally and almost certainly will have a major chip on his shoulder.

If that’s the case, we could very well see the best version of Derrick Favors yet of his seven-year NBA career.

Best Case Scenario

The best case scenario for Derrick Favors simply begins with him remaining healthy. The Utah Jazz have a large void to fill with Gordon Hayward no longer with the team and given that, prior to last year, Favors had established himself as one of Utah’s leading scorers, he’s going to have to be that kind of player once again. That’s going to require him staying on the floor, thus the only way it comes to fruition is for him to remain healthy.

With that box checked, Favors will have to get back to his former self and even take a significant step forward. In a best case scenario, Favors will regain his once solid mid-range game, turning it into a reliable weapon, while also being an absolute monster in the pick-and-roll. Playing alongside savvy floor general Ricky Rubio should help his game and hopefully it allows Derrick to set career-highs in points and field goal percentage.

In all honesty, if Favors can regain his former form, with the larger role he should very well have next season, his best case scenario could also include him ending up as the team’s leading scorer. This will be tough with Rodney Hood commanding a larger role and Rudy Gobert likely getting more touches, but he was once a much more reliable offensive player than either of those two and if he’s going to help lead the Jazz to success, he’ll have to become that again.

But it doesn’t just end with his offense, the Jazz will also need Favors to be a force defensively. Ideally, he and Gobert will be able to coexist effectively as twin towers defending the paint, but even more than that, Utah will depend on Derrick to be a reliable and effective backup center when the Stifle Tower is grabbing a rest. It’s no secret that Utah’s defense took a significant dive when Rudy was out of the game last year and Favors will have to stop that next season.

If that all comes together and Favors achieves his best case scenario on both ends of the floor, he likely still won’t be an All-Star in the crowded Western Conference, but he could certainly put himself in that conversation and perhaps be a fringe guy who sets himself up for significant All-Star recognition in the years to come.

Worst Case Scenario

If Derrick Favors is unable to stay healthy and has a season very similar to last year’s, then that will essentially seal his worst case scenario. Although Favors deserves significant credit for stepping up to the best of his ability in the playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers despite being unhealthy, beyond that 2016-17 was essentially a lost year for him.

If Favors is healthy, then his alternate worst case scenario essentially becomes that he has already practically plateaued and is unable to improve upon his 2015-16 stat line. If for some reason he and Rudy can’t coexist on the floor together and his production is largely replaced by that of Gobert and one of Utah’s various stretch-four options, then Favors could find himself in a less than favorable position for the upcoming season.

Given that he’s in the final year of his current contract, in a lot of ways this is a make or break year for Favors. Either he establishes himself as a core piece and key guy in Utah’s success, or he finds himself on the short list of players that the Jazz opt not to re-sign for next season.

Next: Utah Jazz Best Case/Worst Case Scenario Series: Ricky Rubio

It would be extremely disappointing if such ended up being the case especially considering how promising Favors’ young career appeared and how much of a force he was just two years ago. As long as he can remain healthy, I’m fully confident that he can regain his former talent level and even finish close to his aforementioned best case scenario.

However, given his recent track record, that could pan out to be a big “if.” Favors has long been one of my favorite Jazz players, so I wish him nothing but the best. Nevertheless, he has a lot to prove this season if he hopes to land a lucrative contract next summer and remain a key piece of a formidable NBA team for the foreseeable future.