After spending nine of the last ten seasons with the Utah Jazz, Derrick Favors was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer. At 30 years old, he certainly isn’t a piece of their long-term future, but could benefit from a large role on a rebuilding team.
Standing at 6-foot-9, Favors has been a starter for the majority of his career and likely will fill a similar role in Oklahoma City. With that in mind, he’ll be one of the few veterans on the roster and will be tasked with mentoring some of the younger players.
Favors is a former third overall pick and a solid piece to have on the team.
As each player in this series is evaluated, it’s important to consider the prospect they are now, but more importantly how they could look in five years when the Thunder are a competitive playoff team once again.
Last Season’s Numbers
Last season, Favors came off the bench in Utah. Playing 68 games, he averaged just 5.4 points and 5.5 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per game. This was statistically his worst season ever, meaning he’s got a real opportunity to bounce back in OKC.
The season prior, he started early ever game and almost averaged a double-double.
Favors isn’t a floor-spacer by any means, attempting less than 200 threes in his entire career. In fact, at this point in his career he really isn’t a true starting caliber player.
With that in mind, there’s absolutely no center competition on the Thunder roster, giving him a clear runway to starting and playing big minutes this season to rebuild his image as a player.
Fit On Current Roster
At 30 years old, Favors will be the oldest starter on the entire Thunder roster by quite a bit. With no other true centers on the roster outside of Mike Muscala, there won’t be much competition for that starting spot.
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It’s likely that Oklahoma City will play a lot of small ball lineups, meaning Favors might not play a ton of minutes even if he is a starter.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Thunder made a move for a young center to develop this offseason or throughout the 2021-22 season. If they are able to pick someone up, it will make sense to start and play that prospect over Favors even if they aren’t a better player now.
For OKC, it’s all about rebuilding for the future.
The Thunder are still quite a few years away from being a playoff team again. With that in mind, Favors only has two years left on his contract.
Especially at 30 years old, he likely won’t be part of Oklahoma City’s long-term plans.
On a downward trajectory to this point in his career, he could be a solid veteran for the future if he were to stick around and re-sign in a couple of years, but the chances seem slim at this point.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see him finish his current contract with a team other than the Thunder.
Favors really isn’t a prospect at age 30. However, he’s a solid big who’s solidified himself as a quality backup in the NBA.
At minimum, even if the Thunder can’t flip him for an asset in the next two years, he’ll provide mentorship and good minutes for the rebuilding team.
In an ideal scenario, he’d have a great upcoming season, allowing OKC to trade him and the nearly $20 million remaining on his contract.