Move over, Greg Stiemsma.
Last week, it was reported that the Utah Jazz had had signed 22-year-old power forward Derrick Favors to a four-year, $49 million contract extension. The defensive-minded Favors has quietly been one of the NBA’s best defensive big men when he has gotten onto the court, and the Jazz seem to believe he can be even better.
“Very rarely will you get a 6-10, 260-pound young player saying, ‘Hey, I’m a defender. I’m a rebounder. Build the defense around me. That’s what I want,’” Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey told The Salt Lake Tribune. “So if he can be our Bill Russell, we’ll be very, very pleased.”
Favors has had a tough time getting regular playing time over Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, who both left via free agency this summer. When he did play, however, he was impressive. He had the second-highest block percentage among power forwards last season at 5.7 percent, trailing only Serge Ibaka‘s 7.4 percent, and was ranked seventh in that category overall. (Stiemsma was sixth, in case you were curious.) Favors was also 11th in blocks per 36 minutes.
The Jazz, who cleared a lot of salary cap space by letting Jefferson and Millsap go — along with other cost-cutting measures this offseason — have started spending on their future. Gordon Hayward reportedly is close to a deal that would be even richer than Favors’ deal, which averages out to approximately $12.25 million per year.
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