With the season already past the midway point, NBA GMs have their minds set on the NBA Playoffs. But for those teams that will be counting ping pong balls instead of playoff victories, the upcoming NBA Draft has many intriguing prospects that need to be recognized. So before March Madness takes over, Dime contributor Lucas Shapiro will be profiling players and giving them a team that would best fit their talent. Last week was Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins, so now we’re on to Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors.
Player Comparisons: A defensive-minded Amar’e Stoudemire, Emeka Okafor and Antonio McDyess.
Some could argue that Derrick Favors is the best athlete in this Draft. His combination of speed, jumping ability and size (6-10) remind Georgians of Dwight Howard and Josh Smith from back when they were in high school. At times, it seems as though Favors relies heavily on his athleticism and instincts to dominate. At the next level, Favors’ athleticism will continue to stand out, unlike last week’s prospect, DeMarcus Cousins. He’s not a freak of nature, but he’ll be superior athletically to many NBA players from the second he walks on the court. He’ll need to put on a little more weight and gain some strength to bully opponents in the post in the League. Also, Favors could serve as a candidate for the dunk contest revival project. Remember his second dunk in the McDonald’s All-American Dunk Contest last year? You should.
Athletic big men in college often suffer from the “dunk effect.” The “dunk effect” is when big men only chose to dunk in high school owing to weaker opponents and do not focus on developing post moves to be great at the next level. Favors is a victim of this phenomenon. In order to succeed at the next level, he’ll need to work on his passing, shooting and ball-handling skills. At times, it seems the Georgia Tech offense forgets about Favors and he has trouble getting involved. When Favors shoots the ball 10 or more times, the Yellow Jackets have gone 4-2. On the defensive end, Favors is fairly fundamentally sound. He has yet to foul out of a game this season and uses to his great timing to block two shots per game. His great shot-blocking ability enables him to play both the power forward and center position which appeals to many NBA teams looking to diversify their front court.
For every Amar’e Stoudemire, unfortunately there is a Shelden Williams. In other words, Favors could easily turn out to be either one of these guys. From a basketball standpoint, I would recommend for him to stay in college for one more year. However, it is hard to convince a guy to stay when he could be a top five pick due to his upside. His raw skills need to be developed and polished before he can make an impact right away. This could take some time so it would be best for Favors to land on a better lottery team. On a decent team, he can temporarily serve as the energy guy of of the bench for now.
Aside from being a physical specimen, Favors’ unselfish mentality and great work ethic will eventually separate him from the rest. The main reason why I’d love to see him stay another year in college is to transform his game. Take a look at guys like Blake Griffin and Patrick Patterson. Each guy stayed the extra year in college and went from being athletic bangers to all-around post players with shooting range. Hopefully, Favors lands on an up-tempo team in order to showcase his athleticism. Patience will be key for team’s willing to wait and develop to be an elite power forward.
Best Fit: Sacramento Kings
While Jason Thompson and Carl Landry may be the future of the Kings right now, there is certainly room for Favors in this front court. The Kings have always been known to draft the best player available rather than positional need. Spencer Hawes has been in the doghouse this season and Favors would put some pressure on him to improve. Competition between teammates is highly beneficial to team chemistry and desire to win. Favors’ upside would help the Kings in the present and the future since they are lacking star-power now that Kevin Martin is out of town.
Runner-Up: Detroit Pistons
Face it, the Pistons could use anything right now. Their front court does not feature any big names unless you consider Ben Wallace and Charlie Villanueva quality big men (which I do not). Favors would be a great start to reviving life in Detroit.
What do you think?
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