Utah Jazz: Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter living up to NBA's 'Big Things Are Coming' theme
SALT LAKE CITY —
Early in training camp, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin witnessed an example of the competitive nature that burns inside a couple of his youngest and biggest players.
It was a sneak peek into what he could expect from Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter this season.
The Jazz were running a routine drill in which the ball is thrown off the backboard, the rebounder makes an outlet pass and a fast break play is executed.
Favors and Kanter both wanted the basketball in their hands.
Glass. Crash. Clash.
"They were fighting each other just for the rebound to get out into transition," Corbin said, smiling about the good problem. "I was excited about it from that day."
The second-year coach didn't say who won that particular boarding battle, but, heck, Corbin could be considered the clear winner.
The Jazz, too.
The powerful pups have continued to demonstrate an unrelenting desire to pound the boards — or anyone that gets in their way — while contributing toughness on defense and sharing an occasional glimpse of offensive promise.
It almost seems the league marketing staff had the 6-foot-10, 248-pound Favors and the 6-foot-11, 267-pound Kanter in mind when concocting a "Big Things Are Coming" motto for the 2011-12 NBA season.
"They're two big guys that's playing big," Corbin said.
Real big at times.
As you'd expect from the NBA's last two No. 3 picks.
Kanter began his NBA career with an 11-board effort against the Lakers, and the 19-year-old has banged bodies around in the block like a bruiser ever since. He also had a key put-back dunk late in Monday's win over New Orleans.
"Big Turkey (is) really responding well as far as learning a new offense, learning a new defense, might be learning a new language," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "But he (is) coming in and responding real well."
If Kanter is Big Turkey and Jefferson is Big Al, Atlanta-bred Favors could be called Big South.
Favors swatted five Milwaukee shots in Tuesday's win, showed his preseason monster game in Portland was no fluke by amassing a 20-point, 11-rebound performance in Utah's first win of the season against the 76ers last Friday, and has provided a powerful punch off the bench since struggling as the starting power forward the first two contests.
The potential-packed 20-year-old even had his name listed on the 2012 All-Star starters ballot along with teammates Devin Harris, Paul Millsap and Jefferson.
But Favors doesn't have stars in his eyes right now. He even humbly shrugged off the honor of being voted onto the candidate list.
"I don't look into all of that stuff," Favors said. "I just go out there and keep playing basketball."
Someday he'd love to make an All-Star team. He would even be thrilled to make the midseason sophomore team in February.
But Favors' mind is more set on the following: "Defense, rebounding, scoring when I get an opportunity, just playing."
Add punishing the rim and sending opponents' shots into the seventh row to that list.
That's precisely what Favors is doing when he gets in. His playing time hasn't increased dramatically from last season — he's averaging 23.5 minutes — because the Jazz have proven big guys like Jefferson and Paul Millsap who demand a lot of action.
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