Dear Utah Jazz, Please don’t trade Derrick Favors

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 1: Derrick Favors #15 pours water on Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz after the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on December 1, 2017 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 1: Derrick Favors #15 pours water on Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz after the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on December 1, 2017 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Derrick Favors has been oft mentioned as a potential trade piece for the Utah Jazz. However, the organization may want to pump their brakes before dealing such a valuable player.

Wow, what a 2017-18 season it’s been so far for the Utah Jazz and how great has this five-game winning streak been? After losing eight of 10 games, many in Jazzland were quick to hit the panic button, but give Quin Snyder and his guys credit for turning this thing around and getting Utah solidly back on track. Despite the absences of Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum, Joe Johnson and Rodney Hood, the Jazz just keep on rolling.

And while Donovan Mitchell with his mind-blowing 41-point explosion in the win over the New Orleans Pelicans last night has been heralded as one of the key cogs in helping Utah find that success (and deservedly so), he’s far from the only one keeping the Jazz afloat. Joe Ingles has been phenomenal as he stuffs the stat sheet and burns the nets from deep night in and night out. Alec Burks is starting to appear as if he’s revolutionizing his career and has been on fire of late.

There’s ample praise to go around as several other Jazzmen have been absolutely phenomenal as well and truly the collective team thriving together has been what’s helped Utah succeed. But there’s one guy in particular that I especially want to touch on. And that’s Derrick Favors.

Last year was an extremely frustrating year for Favors and for his fans alike. Derrick battled with injuries all year long and even when he was “healthy”, he never truly looked like himself. He admitted to playing on one leg throughout the year and his lack of explosiveness and quickness made that all too apparent.

Amidst Derrick Favors’ struggles last season, as fate would have it, the Utah Jazz thrived. The team had its best season since 2009-10 where the team similarly ended up as the fifth seed in the West. In spite of an onslaught of injuries, Rudy Gobert had a breakout year and several other of his teammates including former Jazzman Gordon Hayward helped Utah to excel in a big way.

Therefore, despite all that Derrick Favors had done for the Jazz organization and how incredible he had looked just one year before, several Jazz fans suddenly turned their backs on him and viewed him as expendable. “The Jazz can win without Favors.” “He and Rudy can’t coexist and Rudy’s the better player.” “The Jazz should look to trade him for someone more valuable.” – these were all common sentiments coming out of the Jazz Nation peanut gallery.

And we tend to think of players as the ones lacking loyalty.

No wonder Derrick Favors with perfect awareness admitted to being forgotten.

During Utah’s recent hot streak, though, Favors has once again been exceptional. In the last five games, D-Faves is putting up 18.6 points on 73.1 percent shooting from the field while pulling down 9.0 rebounds and chipping in 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks. He’s been spectacular on both ends of the floor and his ascension back into the Favors of old has been critical for the Jazz’s success.

His numbers of late well exceed the 16-and-8 mark that we grew so accustomed to in 2014-15 and 2015-16. If he’s able to maintain this over the course of the season, it will be revolutionary for a Jazz team that simply had to get used to playing without him last year. Yes, there’s legitimate concerns about Favors and Gobert co-existing with one another, but if anyone can get it figured out, I believe that Quin Snyder can.

Plus, as you can see in the tweet below, I’m not so sure that the pairing of Favors and Gobert is exactly to blame:

And given the multitude of Jazz players that can play the small-ball, stretch-four position well such as Joe Johnson, Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas Jerebko and even Joe Ingles in certain situations, having a second big like Favors around to play the center spot is a very nice commodity. Especially against dynamic frontcourt duos such as the one the Jazz faced last night of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, having Favors around alongside Gobert is very much beneficial.

Not to mention, considering all of Utah’s injury woes, keeping a guy like Derrick Favors could be an excellent insurance if Rudy Gobert has any further setbacks.

Nevertheless, despite all that Favors is doing well and how solid he’s looked of late, there’s a contingent of Jazz fans that rather than praise him for how much he is helping the team win, instead they’re reveling in the fact that his solid play is simply raising his trade value. Since all they seem to see the impending unrestricted free agent as is a trade piece, the fact that he’s playing well means little more to them than that he could potentially bring in a larger haul.

Well, I may be in the minority on this one, but I’m on the opposite end of the argument. I don’t want the Utah Jazz to trade Derrick Favors. Period.

Aside from all the reasons I’ve stated previously about his on-court performance, there’s also other aspects of Favors that I think are far from replaceable. First of all, talk about a guy who has had every right to develop a poor attitude, hang his head or complain about his situation, but hasn’t in the least.

He’s had to deal with incessant trade rumors, has been moved back and forth between the center and power forward position time and time again due to changing personnel or injuries and was largely overlooked as one of Utah’s main guys as the organization looked to appease Hayward who jumped ship at the first chance he got.

Can you imagine how someone like Trey Burke would have handled everything Favors has experienced? Or Enes Kanter? Favors has been a consummate pro and has showed up and done his job each and every day for the Jazz. Isn’t that exactly the kind of guy that fits the mold of a player Jazz fans should want around? Have the injuries been frustrating? Yes, of course. But that’s been largely outside of his control and the way he’s battled past them has been beyond admirable.

Thus, rather than being viewed as a potential castaway, the longest tenured Jazzman should be viewed with praise. He’s stuck with this franchise through thick and thin and deserves acknowledgement for that.

Last of all, there’s simply no denying that Favors has great chemistry with this Jazz team as currently constructed. All too often a team will make a move that seemingly ought to make them better, only to find that either the pieces they got rid of were actually critical to the team’s cohesion or that the new ones simply don’t fit in with their new teammates.

Just watch Derrick Favors get his sweet, sweet revenge on Donovan Mitchell by spraying him down with double water bottles after Mitchell’s career night. Doesn’t this just look like a squad that gets along? That likes one another? Haven’t the past five games showed us that this team’s togetherness helps make their whole much more formidable than the sum of their parts?

The ball movement, point distribution and balanced assist numbers are all clear signs that this Jazz team is simply humming. Favors has been a huge part of that and he and Donovan have played incredibly together. During Utah’s five-game winning streak, the two of them have the team’s highest plus/minus of any two-man lineup with a mark of 14.6. They’ve also posted an astounding net rating of 26.1 in 135 minutes played together during that same span.

Considering that Donovan Mitchell is clearly, irrevocably the future of the Utah Jazz, would it really make sense to deal the big man that just so happens to be having the most success with him on the court and with whom he appears to have a great relationship?

We all said in a somewhat serious, somewhat joking tone that Raul Neto’s spot on the roster was secure because he’s such good friends with Rudy and the Jazz wouldn’t want to upset him. If we’re using that same logic when talking about Favors who (no offense to Neto) is a much better player and has a good relationship with Donovan, wouldn’t it be wise to keep our future star happy – one who based on his early reactions could want to stay in Utah for years to come?

Perhaps I’m overthinking things there or getting too far ahead of myself, but the point is that Mitchell and Favors have looked awesome together and I, for one, am not ready to split them up. Not even close.

Derrick Favors has long been one of my most favorite Jazzmen since he joined up with the squad. He’s playing great basketball, has an excellent chemistry with the team and has been nothing but loyal to the Jazz.

Sure, that loyalty will be put to the test this summer when he hits unrestricted free agency, but if the Jazz organization can further prove the confidence they have in him the rest of the year and make sure he knows just how valuable he is by continuing to allow him to thrive and quiet any trade rumors that may be causing him uneasiness, they may very well be able to keep him around.

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And if that’s at all possible, it’s what the Jazz need to do. Favors has been too good in too many ways, basketball-related and otherwise, to just be tossed aside.

Please, Utah Jazz, don’t trade Derrick Favors.