In today's NBA, fastbreak dunks, isolation pull-ups and alley-oops dominate the highlight reels, but for some teams in the league, they get it done the old-fashioned way.
As a game once dominated by the most towering of centers, the strategy of the Utah Jazz is a throwback to a time where teams opted to score inside (although the Jazz are eighth in the league as far as fastbreak scoring).
Ninth in the league as far as points in the paint per game, it's fairly obvious how the Jazz get most of their scoring.
With their solid veteran front line of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson doing a lot of the dirty work, casual NBA fans might be unaware of their fellow talented frontcourt mates—Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors.
Part of what makes the Utah Jazz so dangerous as an in-the-paint-oriented offense is this seamless dynamic between the Millsap-Jefferson pairing and the Kanter-Favors duo. If one or the other hits the bench, there's a dependable replacement to step up and sustain the interior dominance. Just as he should be doing, head coach Tyrone Corbin often switches it up and mixes and matches his pairings accordingly.
Well, see for yourself.
Both are just the epitome of NBA-ready big men. Rather than just being big bodies while lacking fundamentals, both provide a bruising presence. Both possess high motors when battling for boards on the offensive end and plenty of polish offensively.
Favors is more brute force whereas Kanter is more of a traditional pivot man with soft touch around the rim. Besides their aforementioned toughness, both are extremely polished—double moves, hook shots, turnarounds.
You name it, they're both improving upon their offensive repertoire. But make no mistake: Just because both have soft touch, they are not pushovers on the block.
Also, consider the fact that both Favors and Kanter are 21 and 20 years old, respectively, with a grand total of three years of NBA experience between both of them. The ceiling for both is sky-high, and it also helps that they can play with one another on the court with tremendous chemistry.
Neither Kanter nor Favors have numbers that jump off the stat sheet and scream at you. Quite frankly, most NBA fans would scoff at the thought of a guy like Kanter, who averages 6.4 points and 4.4 boards per game, being called a top prospect. Remember, though, Kanter is only tallying 15.4 minutes per game.
Favors' numbers might get similar treatment from casual fans—9.1 points, 6.5 boards and 1.5 blocks, but consider that he only gets 22 minutes of action per game.
Assuming both reached the peak of their ability, you'd be looking at an extremely dominant mismatch problem for most teams in the league. Both are nearly seven-feet tall, and each is more than capable of averaging 15 and 10 with a block or two on any given night.
In this league, not everyone gets handed minutes overnight. They have to be earned over time. Considering the Jazz already have two extremely talented bigs, they simply don't have the room to play all four of them with the same amount of playing time.
Whatever the future has is in store for the Jazz, they should take comfort in knowing they have two of the most promising young prospects in today's game. There's no question that the sky is the limit for both of them.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!