There is much to like about Derrick Favors. His work ethic, for instance. He has steadily stretched his shooting range, adapted to playing alongside Rudy Gobert and fought through injuries as the years passed.
Meanwhile, he has been up front about wanting to be in Utah, where he says he grew into a man. He’ll never be Charles Barkley or Karl Malone in terms of interviews. But he now handles interviews with good humor, politeness and polish. When he first came to Utah, he barely said a word to the media.
But one of his best moments came on Monday at Jazz media day. Before anyone had launched a question from the press section, he initiated the conversation.
“All right, here we go,” he began. “Me and Rudy can coexist. I’ve been working on my 3-point shot. We’re both getting better. Donovan (Mitchell), he’s an exceptional player. We did not see that coming last year. We know he’s going to be better this upcoming season. We’re gonna throw last season away; we’re just looking toward the future. As for my contract, I’m just happy to be here.”
It was a slick move — cutting straight to the chase. No waiting for the inevitable questions.
It reminds me of the time I went to interview Pete Rose when he was in Salt Lake. He was in town promoting some product I can’t recall. After one other writer and I lobbed a couple of warmup questions about what he was promoting, he said something like, “Let’s get to reason you’re here: my Hall of Fame eligibility.”1 comment on this story
He wasn’t combative or even irritable; he just good-naturedly skipped over some of the formalities and got to the heart of the issue.
Favors’ start on the season was a good sign, at least from an attitude standpoint. He has his new deal with the Jazz, but he also has the confidence of an eight-year NBA veteran. That should serve him well. He knows his job, both on the court and in the interview room.
By answering the questions ahead of time about Mitchell, Gobert and his shooting, he saved everyone some time. Just like his game, his interview skills are increasingly efficient. There are advantages to mastering both.