Utah Jazz: Curb your expectations for Derrick Favors this season

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Coming off an injury-ravaged 2016-17 season, the Utah Jazz need to be careful about their expectations for Derrick Favors going forward.

Almost every NBA team has one player the fanbase can’t agree on. Trade him or keep him, bench him or start him, waive him or re-sign him. The Utah Jazz are no different.

Derrick Favors is that bone of contention for many Jazz fans.

Discussing his future with the team is a dialogue of the deaf for some, with a meeting in the middle rarely the result of the extended back and forth.

Favors’ numbers in 2014-15 and 2015-16 were worthy of All-Star consideration. He posted 16 points with eight rebounds on a little over 50 percent shooting while averaging 1.6 blocks per game between the two seasons.

That version of the 26-year-old might have been enough to keep Gordon Hayward in Utah, but we’re starting to get over that loss now.

What we can’t get over is his 2016-17 season. Like his pre-injury numbers, the injury itself can’t be ignored. It happened. For a big man like Favors, there’s a chance it could happen again.

Nine points per game with six rebounds on 48 percent shooting aren’t the sort of numbers that justify almost $12 million a season as he approaches unrestricted free agency in 2018. Injury and a minutes restriction hindered his productivity last season, but at times, Favors looked like a shadow of his former self as he hobbled around the court.

It’s a hugely important 12 months for Favors and based on his socials, he’s out there working hard to get his body back to 100 percent.

His intentions are good, but what can we really expect from Derrick Favors this season?

There’s no winner in a debate that is currently built on hypotheticals, with neither side of the Favors discussion holding the wood over the other until he takes the court.

The proof is in the pudding, and the feast starts Oct. 18.

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It’s going to be fairly clear what Favors will be capable off after the first game of the season.

At times last season, it was hard to watch Favors struggle up and down the court. If that pain of watching him play remains within us, it doesn’t bode well for those expecting a return to full health. Every fall to the floor or bumping of knees will bring with it nervous tension.

Is this finally it for him? Is he now just another Andrew Bynum?

On the other side of the coin, there’s no reason not to believe Favors can’t repeat those 2015-16 numbers if his body allows it. His ability will remain, what he’s relying on are the tools to use it.

Why shouldn’t he again average 16 points, eight rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game?

To answer the original question, don’t expect too much. Allow Favors to under-promise and over-deliver. It’s better for him and the fans no matter which side of the fence they sit on in regards to his future. Avoid demanding an All-Star player from a body that can’t reach the All-Star game without spending time in street clothes.

All we can do at the moment is hope for the best.

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The Jazz need him to dominate more than ever, but don’t let familiarity breed contempt if he doesn’t. He and the training staff are doing all they can to get him back on the court and that’s all we can expect from Favors right now.