It's amazing for a third-year guy. I've learned defensive stuff from him. I've been in the league for nine years and D-Fav's only in his third year, but you're never too old to learn things from younger players. —Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz center
SALT LAKE CITY — Derrick Favors' defensive prowess, power dunks and exciting potential aren't the only things that impress Al Jefferson.
Big Al has been pleasantly surprised with the 21-year-old's professor skills.
"It's amazing for a third-year guy. I've learned defensive stuff from him," Jefferson said. "I've been in the league for nine years and D-Fav's only in his third year, but you're never too old to learn things from younger players."
The teaching, not surprisingly, is a back-and-forth exchange.
Even so, the humble Favors laughed out loud when told that Jefferson's impressed by his teaching.
Favors said he'll give Big Al pointers on pick-and-roll defense, such as "When you go back, have your hands up. Just little things like that."
Conversely, Jefferson gives him offensive advice.
Favors cited one example: "Just being patient in the post."
The young big appreciates the input, too.
"I know sometimes I can get a little bit impatient," Favors said. "I try to make a move too fast, so he just tells me to take my time."
Favors gives the nod to Jefferson when it comes to which player is the better instructor.
"Obviously him," Favors said. "He's been around the league longer with the experience and all that stuff. I just throw in my little input."
Favors smiled and admitted that it was "kind of awkward at first," but their relationship is such that Jefferson will now occasionally approach him for feedback.
"Al is coachable," Favors said. "Sometimes he might come up to me ask me. He's very coachable."
Jefferson credited both Favors and Paul Millsap for helping him on the defensive end.
"Paul is a great defensive player on pick-and-roll coverage. D-Favs is a guy who's a shot blocker at the rim," Jefferson said. "Them guys really help me out a lot to make me better."
PUPPY LOVE: Favors is hoping his new pitbull dog will also be teachable. The Jazz power forward brought the puppy home Tuesday and posted a picture on Twitter.
Favors groaned that Gotti, well, quickly broke in his new home.
The new dog owner has one other minor quibble.
"I've been playing with him. I love him," Favors said. "But he keeps me up at night with all that whining he be doing. He's been keeping me up, but I can deal with it."
HAPPY KANTER: Jefferson is also impressed with how injured Jazz center Enes Kanter has been able to keep his spirits up after dislocating his left shoulder last Wednesday.1 comment on this story
"My man, I've never seen a guy who got hurt and be just in a positive attitude and happy," Jefferson said. "You'd think he's still the same guy and not even hurt."
Jefferson admitted Kanter handles being out better than he does.
"If it had happened to me, I'd be down. I feel bad just missing one game, but he just have high spirits," Jefferson said. "And he's looking forward to his rehab and he'll be back."
The Jazz still haven't given a timetable for Kanter's return.
"The few games I did miss, he held it down for me," Big Al added. "I told him, 'We're going to hold it down for you. You just take your time and get yourself back together.'"