Nets Post-Up: After Mikhail Prokhorov Said No Melo, How’s Favors?

Nets Post-Up is a stream of consciousness post without editing. Luckily, the author can filter profanity, possesses excellent grammar, and isn’t lazy about spelling. Basically, he’s amazing.

On January 19, 2011, New Jersey Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov cut ties to any deal involving the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony. It came as somewhat of a surprise considering how seemingly desperate the Nets were in order to acquire the prolific scorer in that the Nets would be giving up a lot for a player that, at that point, said he wanted to play for the New York Knicks along with Amar’e Stoudemire (and eventually, Chris Paul). Plus, it seemed that Prokhorov wanted a marketable player for the eventual move to Brooklyn.

So, with the ‘Melo mess behind the Nets, how has the team fared since? Before the proclamation of trade termination from Prokhorov, the Nets were sitting ugly at 10-31, an unimpressive .244 winning percentage.  Since January 19th, the Nets have gone 7-7 (.500) to up their record to 17-38 (.309). And, coincidentally, the Nuggets since this same period of time? A comparable 8-7. Who needs ‘Melo when you have some peace of mind knowing you’ll still be around?

Speaking of which, let’s take a look at the main player that would have gone away from the Nets and how he’s performed since.

Derrick Favors

Of course when we talk about any Nets player that could have been gone for ‘Melo, we have to start with Favors, the young talent the Nuggets were looking for. In the past 14 games, Favors averaged 21.6 minutes, 6.2 points on 44.4% shooting from the floor (36-81) and 60.0% from the free-throw line (15-25). He’s also pulled down 6.2 rebounds, blocked 1.2 shots and averaged 2.9 fouls. However, when you work that foul average per 48 minutes, Favors averages 6.4 personals, well above the number of fouls before having to leave the game.

In this 14 game span, Favors has only scored in double-digits once (12 on 1/19 vs. Utah Jazz) and grabbed double-digits boards only twice (11 on 2/2 vs. Philadelphia 76ers; 2/12 vs. New York Knicks). He’s scored only two points twice (1/26 vs. Memphis Grizzlies; 2/6 vs. Indiana Pacers) and scored only four points on three other occasions. He’s had a particular hard time shooting from the field in February (six games), going 11-for-37, a less than spectacular 29.7% success rate of putting the ball in the basket. It’s easily his worst shooting percentage month and subsequently, it’s also the worst scoring average month (4.7). But on the bright side, Favors is producing a season-high for a month in blocks (1.3) and bringing down a respectable 7.4 rebounds per.

I’d like to suggest that Favors hit a rookie wall, but he hasn’t played enough minutes to say that due to foul trouble! In all seriousness, it doesn’t look like Favors has gotten tired at all during the season as he always remains active, especially in the post. He just doesn’t get the ball enough and maybe he should. In the Nets’ last game versus the Knicks, Favors took 10 shots, which accounted for about 12.5% of his shots in the last 14 games. Sure he only made three of those 10 shots, but he kept moving and also grabbed 14 boards and almost ended up with a double-double, scoring nine points.

At this point, Favors is undoubtedly still a project and his team’s faith in him, by not shipping him off to Denver, hasn’t done anything to improve his production. In fact, Favors has fell off a bit. Perhaps, it’s goes from one worry (when will he be traded) to another (now there are expectations that need to be met) for Favors. It’s hard to tell with him as he’s basically stone-faced showing no emotion, which has been a complaint about Favors. So, what needs to be done in order for said expectations to be met?

How about some patience? Favors has shown enough flashes that he warrants some time. In fact, it’s not like the Nets have anything to play for other than pride. The team will let him make his mistakes (and he’s made them) as  part of his growth in the NBA and it will pay off… eventually. However, I do think it will be sooner rather than later. I know a lot of Nets fans are sick of hearing about the upside, but this is a young team, Favors is the youngest player in the NBA, and he’s one of those Southern people that need to catch up a little bit with the NY area lifestyle.

I’m still glad that we kept Favors and said no to ‘Melo.