As it stands, Derrick Favors is the starting power forward for the Utah Jazz. Should that change, free agent big Thaddeus Young could be targeted.
The “will they or won’t they?” game between the Utah Jazz and big man Derrick Favors has taken center stage as the hot topic in Jazzland. With the big domino having already fallen in the Mike Conley deal, the team’s next order of business will be deciding on whether or not to keep Favors beyond his contract guarantee date.
Sure, the Jazz love him, but is he the best fit next to Rudy Gobert? With true contender status within reach, could the team be better-served with a more versatile offensive player at the four spot? If the answers there lead the Jazz to move on from their longest-tenured player, we may know one guy they’d consider as a replacement.
Current Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young.
The Athletic’s Tony Jones reported on Friday that the Jazz are one of a gaggle of NBA teams that have shown interest in Young, who will become an unrestricted free agent on June 30.
You’d be hard-pressed to call Young an upgrade over Favors on sheer talent alone, but in terms of fit with the Jazz — a team that has struggled at times offensively when Favors and Gobert shared the floor (doubly so when Ricky Rubio ran point), there’s definitely a case to be made for Young.
Last season, the 31-year-old out up nearly 13 points, seven boards and three assists per contest. Defensively, you’d be giving a little something up by swapping him in for Favors, but Young’s definitely no scrub there. He’s not a big rim protector, but he may actually give you more than Favors as a perimeter defender.
Hypothetically speaking, the real gain would come on the other end of the court, where his versatility would be a big improvement in terms of opening up the offense.
Young’s not a dead-eye 3-point shooter by any stretch, hitting 33 percent of his triples over his career and just under 35 percent last season. Still, he’s much more capable from that range than Favors will likely ever be and has gotten better over the years. He’ll also do some work off the dribble, make the extra pass and is a bit more slick in the post.
Really, he’d be a nice replacement for Jae Crowder, who was part of the Conley deal. But given his past production and the reportedly high number of clubs set to inquire about his services, it seems as though Favors being waived would be the prerequisite here.
Whether or not Young as the starting PF would actually make the Jazz better, though, is far from an open-and-shut case.