SALT LAKE CITY — There’s a good reason why Derrick Favors was stumped when he was asked Tuesday morning if he remembered what happened five years ago to the day.
And, no, it has nothing to do with him being a fairly new dad with twins.
The trade that sent Favors to Utah from New Jersey along with point guard Devin Harris and some good picks in exchange for star playmaker Deron Williams seems like a lifetime ago to him.
“It feels like it’s been forever, to tell you the truth,” Favors admitted. “Five years is a long time.”
Favors’ lasting memory from that fateful day in 2011, which saw him traded after rumors had circulated his entire rookie season with the Nets?
“Welcome to the NBA, basically. That’s my memory,” said Favors, who had a bitter beginning to his pro career because of the rumors and trade. “Coming from New Jersey, being 19 coming all the way over to Utah, a place I’d never been before. It was different, but I grew up, got used to it and I like it here.”
While fans and NBA types can debate who got the best end of the deal, Favors has evolved into a powerful, two-way player for the Jazz over the past half-decade.
“I’ve matured a lot. Obviously I’m not 19 anymore,” Favors said. “My game changed a lot. I’ve changed as a person. Five years ago seems like forever.“
Interestingly, Williams and Harris are both now together in Dallas.
FRIENDLY FIRE: New Jazz guard Shelvin Mack was also asked to look back into time to assess how his Butler teammate, Gordon Hayward, has changed as a basketball player.
First, Mack credited his new Jazz teammate with being a more aggressive player than he was in college.
Then he offered up some serious smack talk about his buddy.
“He’s making shots,” Mack said. With a smile, he added, “He’s not missing shots like he did against Duke. That’s the biggest difference.”
That’s what friends are for, eh?
A GOOD SORE: After his Jazz debut Sunday in Portland, Mack said he felt good after playing a season-high 24 minutes. The big question, he added, was how his body would respond and feel on Monday.
“A little sore, but it comes with it. I’d rather be sore than not playing,” Mack said. “I’ll be all right. I’ve been working hard for an opportunity like this. I’ll be ready to play.”
HE’S BAAACK: The Jazz have been making the most out of their D-League affiliation with the Idaho Stampede this year as far as helping the development of German center Tibor Pleiss.
The 7-foot-3 rookie was recalled by the Jazz on Monday. Pleiss has now had four D-League assignments this season.Comment on this story
“He’s getting an opportunity to play. Whatever his play looks like in my mind is what’s being accomplished is just those minutes,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “Look at his line, his numbers. He’s fouling less, been more productive. Really, if you watch him, he looks more comfortable and that’s the primary thing.”
Pleiss is coming off of his best game in the D-League — 19 points and 17 rebounds against Grand Rapids. In 15 games with Idaho, the big man has averaged 12.6 points on 60.9 percent shooting, 9.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 blocks in 31.3 minutes.