The Jazz have a 6-foot-10 problem. His name is Derrick Favors.
The problem? As he told Jody Gennesy of the Deseret News, Favors is tired of being mostly a spectator:
“I want to play more than what I played last year,” Favors admitted. “If it’s starting, cool. If it’s coming off the bench, cool. I don’t mind. I just want to play more. I don’t want to sit on the bench no more.
“I just want to play more. I’m starting to get used to the NBA now. As a player, you have that certain pride about yourself. As a player, you want to finish games. You want to stay in the game.”
OK, it’s more of dilemma than a problem for coach Ty Corbin, because Favors has never been anything but a happy camper and contented member of the program since joining the franchise.
But after an impressive performance in Utah’s first-round ouster against San Antonio last spring, this could be the time when the 21-year-old is ready to take the next step. In the Jazz’ 4-0 sweep loss to the Spurs, Favors averaged 11.8 points and 9.5 rebounds in 29 minutes per game.
The trouble is that to get Favors more playing time than the 20 minutes a night he played during the regular season a year ago, it’s going to require squeezing elsewhere in the lineup.
The simplest solution, of course, would be to put the guy that could become the next franchise player into the starting lineup in place of Paul Millsap. But Millsap, the seven-year veteran, was steadily productive all through last season.
If Corbin were to slide Favors into the middle to let him take advantage of his athleticism at center, he’d be cutting from the minutes of Al Jefferson, who averaged 34 minutes and is the horse that the Jazz can count on riding every night.
The third option is the one that many Jazz fans might favor, which is to use Millsap, Jefferson and Favors together across a front line that helped Utah make its late drive into the playoffs.
In the short term, it’s situation that Corbin will have to begin sorting out in training camp, because the Jazz will need to have a steady plan and rotation in order to grow.
In the long term, it’s one of the first to confront new general manager Dennis Lindsey in his first season on the job.
Is it time to move either Millsap or Jefferson to get the help on the wing and in the backcourt that the Jazz need? Favors appears ready. That’s a good problem to have.