SALT LAKE CITY — So, who are these guys?
Point guard Devin Harris and rookie forward Derrick Favors, acquired by the Utah Jazz in Wednesday's trade with the New Jersey Nets for Deron WIlliams, bring impressive resumes to Salt Lake City. Both were high NBA Draft picks.
"Devin Harris is a quality player," said Jazz coach Ty Corbin. "Derrick Favors is a great young guy in this league, and he has a chance to make us better."
Harris, a 6-foot-3, 191-pound point guard, is a six-year veteran out of Wisconsin. The 27-year-old (who turns 28 on Feb. 27) has started 54 games for New Jersey this season, averaging 15 points and 7.6 assists, while logging 31.9 minutes per game. He was the fifth overall pick by the Washington Wizards in the 2004 NBA Draft after earning All-America honors and Big Ten Player of the Year recognition as a junior.
His NBA career began with a trade to the Dallas Mavericks, where he played for 31/2 seasons before being dealt to New Jersey.
Corbin is excited about what Harris brings to the Jazz.
"He's fast. He's tough. He's had some great games against us in the past when he was here in Dallas and then in New Jersey, so he's a veteran guy," Corbin said. "I'm not as worried about him as the young guy, because the guy is young. But Devin is a pro. He'll come in and do what he has to do to try and pick up the system as fast as he can. We'll simplify some things for him initially, so he can get up to speed, and then we'll go from there."
Favors, a 6-foot-10, 246-pound forward, has appeared in 56 games for the Nets and started 23. He's averaging 6.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per game. The 19-year-old (the youngest player currently in the NBA) was the third overall pick in last year's NBA Draft after a successful freshman year at Georgia Tech and a decorated high school career.
"He's a young guy, talented, athletic, but most young guys in this league you have to learn how to play at this level to be more consistent," Corbin said. "I like his talent level. He's a big body. He can run the floor. He can block some shots. Offensive skill-wise, he can get some more development, but I think he's a good worker and I think he can learn. We'll see where he is when he gets in."
On draft day, New Jersey coach Avery Johnson told the New York Daily News that Favors was like Orlando's Dwight Howard "with a little bit of power but also finesse and a great touch around the basket."
At Georgia Tech, Favors was the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year and was named a first-team All-ACC Tournament selection.
In 2009, Favors was tabbed as Parade Magazine's High School Player of the Year. He was also the Most Valuable Player in both the McDonald's All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic.
Contributing: Jody Genessy