Coming into the season, there were many reasons to be optimistic as a Utah Jazz fan. They acquired some well-known and accomplished veterans in Mo Williams, Marvin Williams, and Randy Foye. The young “Core 4″ of Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, and Alec Burks were ready to take the next step in their careers and become major contributors to the team. Add these things to the consistent play of big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap and the Utah Jazz were thought of as one of the better up and coming teams in the league. A top five finish in the Western Conference seemed a sure thing. Not so fast. There is turmoil in Jazz Nation. What has gone wrong?
The Jazz have gone 3-7 over their last 10 games and are currently sitting 11th in the Western Conference standings with a 15-17 record. This is not where Jazz fans envisioned their team at the beginning of the season. One of the major gripes of Jazz fans is that Head Coach Tyrone Corbin is not letting the young players play enough minutes to develop. Therefore, not only are the Jazz struggling now, but with the current player rotations, players aren’t improving and the Jazz are going to continue to struggle. For example, Derrick Favors; the 3rd overall pick in the NBA draft, the main part of the trade that sent Deron Williams to the Nets just a season and a half ago, the player thought of as the future of this franchise is only averaging 22.1 minutes per game. In those 22.1 minutes, he is averaging 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks. He leads the team in blocks in those limited minutes.
To get a real sense of why Derrick Favors needs to play more, we need to compare his production to that of his front court team-mate, Paul Millsap. Derrick Favors has been coming off the bench behind Millsap ever since he arrived in Utah, but it’s time for that to change. Favors’ per 36 minute averages are as follows: 15.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.5 steals, and 1.1 assists.
Millsap’s per 36 minute averages are 17.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.0 block, 1.2 steals, and 3.1 assists. The most telling stat of all is that Derrick Favors is only 21 years old, still YEARS away from his prime.
Millsap is 27 years old, has already peaked, and isn’t getting any better. The time to trade Millsap and play Favors is NOW. Millsap’s trade value isn’t getting any higher, and quite frankly, the Utah Jazz aren’t getting any better with him on the roster stealing minutes from their younger players.
Not only would trading Millsap give Favors the opportunity to play the minutes he deserves, it would also open the door for Enes Kanter to play more minutes. Like Favors, Kanter was also the 3rd overall pick in the NBA draft and is loaded with potential. The worst place for potential is the bench, which is where Kanter finds himself more often than not. Kanter is averaging just 15.3 minutes per game; the 4th fewest minutes on the team. For this Jazz team to improve, they need to find a way to get their young players, the future stars of their franchise more time on the court. Potential doesn’t help anyone when it is sitting on the bench.
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