Each of the younger bigs is a former No. 3 pick: Favors in 2010, Kanter in 2011. But even with more minutes and responsibility, neither is posting huge numbers:
Does that mean they won't eventually live up to their lofty draft status? Does coaching have anything to do with their lackluster stats? And what do they still need to do to become stars?
Both Favors and Kanter have shown flashes of what they might be able to do in the future. Favors has gone for 20 and 10 five times—Kanter seven.
And when they play at least 30 minutes in a game, their numbers look a lot better:
With how well both have played when they get real starter's minutes, it seems confusing that neither has topped 30 minutes in even half the games Utah has played.
The problem is, they've struggled to jell defensively.
According to nbawowy.com, Utah gives up a true shooting percentage of 57.4 percent when both Favors and Kanter are on the floor. When it's Kanter alone, it's at 57.2 percent. With only Favors on the floor, it drops to 54.3 percent. And when both Kanter and Favors are on the bench, the opponents' true shooting percentage is 48.8 percent.
The problem when both are on the floor is that inevitably one has to guard a forward with much quicker feet. Neither Favors nor Kanter is really able to keep up with his matchup on the perimeter.
So it's hard to blame Tyrone Corbin for adjusting his lineup from the initial starting frontcourt that included the two youngsters. From a wins-and-losses standpoint, it just wasn't working:
The Jazz doubled their win total when Enes Kanter starts with that 89-88 W over the Magic. Utah is now 2-27 with Big Turk in the first five.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) March 24, 2014
That record is now 2-28 following Monday's loss to the Detroit Pistons. But that doesn't mean this combo can't work in the future.
One of the basic tenets of basketball—and really all sports—is that teammates develop chemistry by spending time together on the court.
This season was supposed to be the time for Favors and Kanter to develop that chemistry. Utah wasn't going to make the playoffs anyway, so you might as well let the two big men work through their growing pains together.
Instead, Corbin has played veteran Marvin Williams just 0.6 fewer minutes per game than Kanter. He's also played Richard Jefferson one minute more than Kanter. You may think that's unrelated, but Williams could easily slide over to Jefferson's small forward position. Prior to this season, that's where he spent the majority of his career.
There's no guarantee that Favors and Kanter would've developed chemistry and played better together with more minutes this season, but it certainly would've given them a better chance.
And they're not the only big men who would've benefited from some more time during this rebuilding season.
Rudy Gobert and Jeremy Evans have completely disappeared from Corbin's rotation (Gobert was never really in it):
Strange 8 man rotation by the Jazz tonight. Lucas, Garrett, and Marvin Williams only subs. Why no Evans, Clark, or Gobert?— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) March 23, 2014
It's good that the Jazz have shortened their rotation to 8 players. Getting ready for the playoffs.— Mychal Lowman (@My_Lo) March 23, 2014
Evans not playing is particularly confusing. In limited minutes, he's been one of Utah's most effective players. He averages just 18.5 minutes off the bench, but his player efficiency rating of 16.9 is second on the team behind Favors. He's also second in offensive rebounding percentage at 11.2 percent, just behind Gobert.
What makes Evans so effective is the fact that he only takes good shots. For him, that means lots of dunks and layups—often from offensive rebounds—and an occasional 15-foot jumper here and there. He knows his strengths, and he doesn't try to do more.
His smart and energetic play somehow couldn't save him from being chopped from the rotation.
And as for the guy who's never made the rotation, Gobert may be raw, but he has some pretty insane potential on defense and on the boards.
Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger recently said as much:
Asked about the Jazz's youngsters, Memphis coach Dave Joerger started his answer by saying he "really likes" Rudy Gobert.— Aaron Falk (@tribjazz) March 19, 2014
Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger on Jazz rookie Rudy Gobert: "He's really, really long. I think he’s very athletic. He's got a good motor."— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) March 19, 2014
He's 7'2" with a 7'9" wingspan, and he doesn't just rely on his unique physical gifts. When you watch Gobert play in the few minutes he gets, he's always going as hard as he can.
It's why he leads the Jazz in both block percentage and rebounding percentage among qualified players.
Are the Utah Jazz bigs still on track for stardom?
Even if he doesn't develop much of an offensive game, getting to the point where he's a capable alley-oop target out of pick-and-rolls will be enough. That's how much of an impact he can have in the other two-thirds of the game.
He—along with Favors, Kanter and Evans—has the potential to be so much more than what we've seen this season.
The two former No. 3 picks have a chance to be stars. They can work their way through their weaknesses. They just need the time to do it on the floor.
Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.