Flashback to the 2012-13 season, when the Derrick Favors extension was being considered. The team had a glut of big men, with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap clogging up the starting spots and Enes Kanter and Favors waiting for their time to shine. At the time, Favors seemed like a safe bet to continue putting up solid numbers, so they extended him to contract worth $47 million over four years. If they had a chance to do it over, would they still extend him?
SOLID, NOT SPECTACULAR
Back when Favors was coming off the bench, he was putting up some impressive per-36 minute stat lines. His 2012-13 averages were 14.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.6 blocks per game. Those aren’t superstar numbers, but for a young player that didn’t get his number called very often offensively, you’d probably pull the trigger on a sizable extension.
His 2013-14 season hasn’t gone quite as planned. Instead of developing and blossoming into a star, Favors has moved laterally at the very best. If anything, he’s shown a bit of regression. Part of that could be blamed on a team that’s simply not very good, but more likely, it’s because he simply couldn’t keep up his activity with a greater minutes load.
This year, he’s averaging 15.4 points (+ .8), 10.6 rebounds (- .4), 1.2 steals (- .1) and 1.5 blocks (-1.1) per-36 minutes. That’s certainly not falling off a cliff mathematically, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless. When we look at his advanced statistics, we see that Favors is slightly more efficient, but his rebounding, assists, steals and blocks percentages are all down. Something else alarming is how much his free-throw rate has gone down. Take a look for yourself:
MORE THAN INDIVIDUAL STATS
As is usually the case, there’s more than just individual stats to be considered. How about Favors and his impact on the team? The numbers aren’t pretty, especially on the defensive end of things. Per 82games.com, Favors puts up a PER of 15.3 as a power forward and 21.1 as a center. He allows a 19.7 PER to power forwards and a 24.7 to centers. Simply put, he fares well offensively as a center but gets demolished on the other end. He’s simply mediocre offensively as a power forward.
As a 22-year-old, we can’t expect a ton of maturity and consistency from him, but then we realize that this is his fourth year in the league! He’s not a spring chicken and he understands the way the NBA works. As far as his consistency is concerned, there is none. In his last 21 games, he’s averaging 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. During that time, he had under seven rebounds 10 times and over 10 rebounds eight times. He scored in single digits six different times during that stretch.
BACK TO THE QUESTION
So, do they regret extending Favors? Not yet. Favors is making just over $6 million this year and his production meets that salary. However, in 2014-15, his new salary kicks in, which will be $11.9 million. His numbers, his potential and his progress just don’t meet that number. If he doesn’t show improvement or at least get back to being one of the best offensive rebounders in the league (he was top-10 in offensive rebounding percentage twice), they’ll sorely regret giving him that money, while watching Millsap and Jefferson go.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the Sports Illustrated/Fansided NBA site HoopsHabit.com. He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic. Follow me on Twitter @DunlapNBA.