Utah Jazz: Injuries of Starting Big Men Give Way to Kanter and Favors to Shine

Andy HuSenior Writer IIMarch 3, 2013

Mar 1, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter (0) shoots over Charlotte Bobcats small forward Jeff Adrien (4) during the second half at EnergySolutions Arena. The Jazz won 98-68. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Currently, both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are nursing their respective ankle injuries and are still out of the lineup for the time being.

With the Utah Jazz's starting big men and two best players out of the starting lineup, it's the perfect opportunity for the young prospects—Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter—to step into the spotlight and show the world what they're capable of.


Favors' Inconsistency with Foul Trouble

Favors got the starting nod in a game against the Atlanta Hawks, where the Jazz trailed after every quarter and convincingly lost the game. Favors put up incredible numbers, posting 17 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 38 minutes of action. 

More impressively, he pulled down six offensive rebounds and registered an exceptional offensive rating of 130, which was much better than his average season rating of 105. Could it mean that Favors' offensive game is finally starting to come to fruition? 

He went 6-of-11 from the field, and most of the shots came around the basket in the painted area. I'm not going to say he drastically improved his offense, since everyone expects him to score like that, but he's definitely cherishing the opportunity to get more touches.

On top of that, the game against the Hawks was the only game in the past six games where Favors stayed out of foul trouble. He recorded five fouls in four straight games prior to that, so he had something to prove, and he proved himself with an excellent performance.

Unfortunately, Favors didn't prove much in his second start during Millsap's injury. He posted eight points and seven rebounds against the Charlotte Bobcats, which are around his season averages, but he fouled out in just 21 minutes on the floor.

If there's one thing that Favors must improve in, it's staying out of foul trouble. Per 36 minutes, Favors is yielding 5.3 personal fouls (per Basketball Reference) this season. Even for his career, Favors is averaging five fouls per 36 minutes. 

He may have all the talent in the world, but he won't be able to constantly prove it on the court if he cannot even stay on the floor.


Kanter will Be a Future All-Star

Throughout the season, Kanter has shown flashes of brilliance and is very consistent with his production. He has only played 30 or minutes in a game just twice this season, but he has impressed in both those games.

In Kanter's most recent game against the Bobcats, where Favors got into foul trouble, he demonstrated his complete repertoire en route to a monstrous 23-point, 22-rebound performance. 

Kanter did turn the ball over five times, but that will improve once he gets more experience. He displayed his full range and arsenal of post-moves, and crashing the glass on every possession. 

He has nifty footwork skills in the post, but he's also fundamentally sound. He's the rare breed of centers who can create their own shot around the rim, face-up, sink a jumper and provide endless hustle and effort every minute he's on the floor.

Most centers could do only one or two of these things, but Kanter brings the whole package.

From what we've seen, Kanter seems to be way more effective and offensively versatile than Favors is. Both of the young big men will grow up playing together, and the Kanter-Favors combination will be extremely fun to watch down the road.

The Jazz have a bright future with these two players anchoring the paint, and the rebuilding has already began. Kanter and Favors are the future of the team.