Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah Jazz
7:30 p.m. PST
Februrary 1, 2014
FOX Prime Ticket
1. Solve this analogy – Blake Griffin:Karl Malone::Derrick Favors:__________
Danny Chau, Grantland (@dannychau): Jermaine O’Neal. Ideally, Favors assumes the same kind of role O’Neal had as a Pacer in the early aughts. The image of O’Neal being a legitimately terrifying NBA player has gotten hazier over the years, but he was arguably a top-five two-way player at his peak. Favors isn’t close to what O’Neal was (yet), and the validity of this comparison hinges on his developments in 2015 and 2016, but their respective breakout seasons at age 22 are remarkably similar.
Andrew Han, (@andrewthehan): Is it weird to say a better Jason Thompson? Maybe this is just because I have such an affinity for Thompson, but their first four year per 36 numbers track reasonably well and they both present freakish size for their position. But he, like Thompson, has disappeared for stretches despite obvious physical advantages. Favors is much younger, though, and his upside seems to track higher as a result.
Luke Laubhan, (@lukelaubhan): Jermaine O’Neal. O’Neal entered the NBA out of high school, Favors after one collegiate season. Both dropped into crowded frontcourts and only gained real playing time in their fifth and fourth seasons respectively, during which they each averaged roughly 13 points and 9.5 rebounds. You could see O’Neal’s raw potential to boom or bust, just like Favors. For what it’s worth, O’Neal is a six-time All-Star.
2. True or False: The Jazz have the best collection of young players among “non-competing” teams.
Chau: There is no greater truth. Next question.
Han: I am inexplicably fascinated by the Jazz youth. Even guys like Jeremy Evans, who had little to no playing time his first three seasons and is a role player this year, have intrigued me with their versatility and potential.
Laubhan: Orlando has Oladipo, Harris, Vucevic and Harkless. Milwaukee has Giannis, Henson and Sanders (although Sanders is 25). Philadelphia has Carter-Williams and Noel. Sacramento has Cousins (still just 23) and McLemore. And Utah has Favors, Kanter, Hayward, Burks and Burke. Every other tanking team has a player I’d prefer over any Utah young guy, but the Jazz have the best “collection.”
3. More likely for Rudy Gobert: novelty or starter?
Chau: Starter, I suppose. I’m a little skeptical, but I’m no fool–definitely not betting against a guy with a convenient 7’8.5″ wingspan who also happens to work extremely hard.
Han: I’ve vacillated on Gobert. During the draft, I thought he should have been a top-5 pick. Watching him run in preseason, I worried about his gait as a big man. Then seeing his massive but still developing frame in the locker room, I think he could have a tangible place in the league. I’ll angle towards starter right now, considering Roy Hibbert also struggled his first few seasons but then leveraged his height/wingspan to his advantage.
Laubhan: Something more than a novelty, but not a starter. In 21 games, Gobert is averaging 2.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.9 blocks and 1.6 fouls in 10.8 minutes. Wait a second – I know that guy…that’s…that’s Ryan Hollins! Or at least it’s sort of close. Sure, Gobert is just halfway through his rookie season, and he’ll be better than L.A.’s backup big man, but not a lot better.
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