Derrick Favors shoots over Utah's Joe Ingles

NBA Superlatives: Pelicans center Derrick Favors

by Jim Eichenhofer

There are players from the 2010 NBA Draft class with more individual honors than Derrick Favors, such as multi-time All-Stars Paul George and John Wall. There are players with higher career scoring averages (DeMarcus Cousins, Gordon Hayward). However, few members of that group from a decade ago have consistently won as much as Favors, particularly in recent years. A member of the Utah Jazz for 8.5 seasons, the Georgia Tech product was an integral piece of Western Conference playoff squads in each of the past three springs. In ’17 and ’18, Favors was a part-time starter for Jazz clubs that defeated the LA Clippers and Oklahoma City in first-round series. His impact in New Orleans has also been undeniable, with the Pelicans’ season turning around almost instantly when the 6-foot-9, 265-pounder returned to the lineup in mid-December. Favors gave his thoughts on his career as a pro to

Most memorable moments in the NBA: “All of the traveling, meeting new people, all of the coaches and teammates I’ve had, going to new cities. But my most memorable one is probably when I played against Kobe Bryant for the first time. He was a player I grew up watching and idolizing. We played the Lakers my rookie year and to finally be on the stage where I was playing against him was a dream come true.”

Most surprising thing about the NBA as a rookie: “How well I adjusted to the lifestyle, traveling all the time and being in different cities. I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ but once I got into a rhythm and a groove and having different sleep patterns, with the early mornings and the late nights, I adjusted and realized I could do it.”

Most unusual moment as an NBA rookie: “One of my biggest welcome to the NBA moments I had as a rookie was when we were playing Boston. I walked up to Kevin Garnett at the free-throw line and he started barking and growling at me like a dog.”

Toughest NBA player he’s faced at his position: “Probably Zach Randolph when he was in Memphis. He just played hard all the time and kind of beat you up the whole game.”

Most underrated player in the NBA: “It’s obviously Jrue Holiday. He’s been underrated for a couple years now. Even when he was with Philadelphia, he’s been one of the most underrated players in the league.”

Favorite road arena: “Atlanta, because I’m from there and I like playing in front of friends and family.”

Favorite road trip, based on the city: “It’s always fun to go to Los Angeles, Miami, New York. I’m excited to go back to Utah, because I spent the last nine years there.” (Editor’s note: Favors still has not gotten to play in Salt Lake City with New Orleans, missing the Pelicans’ only scheduled visit there in 2019-20 due to injury on Nov. 23).

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