Hopefully, it’s the New Jersey Nets. -Derrick Favors
Today, at Champs Sports in Manhattan, I had the illustrious pleasure of interviewing Derrick Favors, the power forward who will likely be wearing a Nets uniform this season (and Adidas shoes – they announced a multi-year partnership today) . While a lot of questions were thrown around, I got the chance to talk to Derrick about a lot of subjects leading up to the draft.
First things first: Derrick expressed very clearly that he wants to be a New Jersey Net next season. He said numerous times that the Nets were his choice if he had the option. When asked if he was leaning towards any team, Derrick said without any hesitation, “Hopefully it’s the New Jersey Nets….I’m gonna work hard and whatever team picks me, picks me. Hopefully it’s the Nets though.”
Because the draft is so soon and our chat will be up soon, I’m just going to go through some of his answers quickly.
-When asked about fitting next to Brook Lopez: “I think it’ll be a good opportunity for him. He’s a good young post player that I could learn a lot from. I could work out with him, and hopefully the Nets pick me so I can help them out.”
My take: Loving his confidence. He’s talking about not only how he could help the Nets, but talking about what an opportunity it would be for Brook to play with him, as well as the other way around. Big fan of this answer.
-When asked about the perception of him being a project, and how much he can contribute next year: “It just depends on how much hard work I put in during this offseason, and as soon as a team picks me, I’m gonna go straight to the city and start working out, so that’s the way I look at it.”
-About the Nets: “I feel that it’s a great opportunity. Young, rebuilding team, good head coach, a new owner, they’re going in a new direction & I hope I can be a part of it, to help them accomplish what they want to accomplish in the next few years.”
My take: I’m in love. The guy’s done his research on the Nets and wants to be a part of the team. He wants to help out and be a part of the team’s success. He’s either been trained very well or he’s just a very smart guy. I don’t care which. I’m just happy.
-First thing he’s buying with his contract: “A new house for my mom, but after that, I don’t know.”
-Skills we’ll be seeing in the NBA that we didn’t see in college: “My high post game. I know a lot of people didn’t get a chance to see that at Georgia Tech because I was playing mostly low post.”
My take: If his high post game is special, he’ll complement Brook perfectly. Another perfect answer for a guy who wants to be in New Jersey next year.
-On possibly playing with Gani Lawal next year: “That would be a blessing. He helped me out through college, and if we’re lucky enough to be on the same team next year, he can help me out again, and I can return the favor.”
My take: Another answer oozing with smart confidence. Not only does he give props to the guy who helped him adjust (and take the high road), but also says slyly at the end that he could return the favor in the NBA. Big fan of that.
-On what a team will get with Derrick Favors: “Hard work, going out there and giving 100% every night.”
-When asked who he would take number one: “Myself.”
-On the workout with DeMarcus Cousins & the Nets: “I think we did good against each other. We’ve been playing against each other since high school. We’re pretty much used to playing against each other. … You know how DeMarcus play, he’s a big strong guy, so he’s going to do his thing. But I think I showed a lot of skill that they didn’t know I had. … It went real good. We did a lot of conditioning drills, a lot of skill drills, it was a good workout.”
-On what part of his game is most underrated: “My faceup game. They just think I’m an athletic guy who just dunks all the time, but I can face up, shoot the jumper, drive, so that part of my game.”
My take: It sounds like he really wants to work at complementing a low-post player as well as possible. Another great sign.
-On the Nets in FA: “Whoever they sign, I’ll be happy to be along for the ride.”
-On who he wants to play against: “Anybody. I’m excited to play against any power forward in the NBA. It’s all gonna be a learning experience my rookie year, but I’m excited to play against all of them.”
-Who he looks up to: “I look up to Kobe a lot. He was the first player I really knew about. (Were you rooting for the Lakers?) Yes. (Congratulations.) Appreciate it.”
On a young kid asking about next season: “It’s gonna go good. I’m gonna work hard and have a good season.”
So there you have it. I was already leaning back towards Favors, but this interview sealed it for me. Hopefully we see Favors in a home uniform at the Rock next year.