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Old 07-31-2013, 08:21 PM   #314
Xiao Yao You
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Location: Peking, P.R.C., Asia
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Default Re: The sure to be epic 2013 Jazz off-season!

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The big question surrounding the athletic big man this summer revolves around how much money he’ll make over the course of the next four or five seasons in Utah. Will he be a max player? Will Utah wait until next offseason to re-sign him?

They better wait if it's max. At 10-12 they might have to roll the dice and hope he lives up to the hype because he could be looking at 12-15 come next summer I'd think.

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While he’s letting his agent deal with contract talk with Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey, Favors is focusing on trying to get rings instead of dollar bills.

“If I don’t get nothing else out of my career, I want to win a championship,” Favors said. “I’ve got goals of being an All-Star. At the end of my career, I want to give that speech — that Hall of Fame speech. That’s one of my biggest goals. But if I don’t get any of those, I at least want to win a championship.”

By the way, Favors went to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., with his South Atlanta High School team, the 2009 Georgia Class 3A state champion, but he’s never actually heard one of the enshrinement speeches.

“I don’t want to listen to one,” he said. “The first one I listen to, I want it to be mine.”

Even so, Favors has gotten an earful from someone who has delivered an emotion-filled Hall of Fame speech. So far this offseason, the fourth-year pro has worked out twice with Malone, who’s added part-time Jazz big man coach to his lengthy resume.

“They’ve been intense,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of the Malone-Favors workouts. “They’ve been really good for both guys.”

Malone’s return to the Jazz organization has been well-publicized. One of the more interesting aspects of the coach Mailman situation is that Favors reached out to management about getting in contact with the NBA’s all-time second-leading scorer.

“I was just at home thinking, ‘Karl Malone played here. Why not?’” Favors said. “I (thought) the worst they can do is just say, ‘No, he can’t come.’ I just asked to see if they can make it happen. I didn’t expect to work out with him. I just wanted to talk, pick his brain or whatever, but we started working out with each other.”

Jazz brass — already impressed by Favors’ willingness to improve on many levels, including in media interviews — was thrilled to accommodate him once Malone agreed to the arrangement.

“It really shows that he wants to work to get better,” Corbin said. “He wants to (learn from) the guys that played the position, like Karl, and understand how to get the knowledge and help his game grow, especially on the offensive end.”

Favors tweaked his back during his USA Basketball participation last week and is taking a week off from his arduous summer training, but he hopes to get in more sessions with Malone this offseason, perhaps even in Ruston, La.

If nothing else, it’s helped him get into prime condition.

“This might sound crazy,” Favors said, “but the hardest thing was getting ready to work out with him because he wanted me to be in shape, be ready before he got there.”

While Favors continues to work on his mid-range jumper and refines a go-to move or two in the post — something that will come with increased playing time, he believes — the young big said Malone has given him great ideas.

What he’s learned most: “how to approach the game, how to outthink your opponent, just all those mental things.”

Favors smiled while admitting he beat Malone in a game of H-O-R-S-E — “He don’t want me to tell nobody” — but he admiringly described the recently turned 50-year-old as a “still strong guy.”

“I think,” he added, “he could come out here and still hold his own."

Leading the youth movement

Favors knows he’ll need to more than hold his own, mentally and physically, now that Paul Millsap has headed to his backup’s childhood home to play for the Hawks and Al Jefferson has signed with Charlotte.

That was the message they each had for Favors on their way out of Utah: “They both just told me, ‘It’s (your) team now; it’s time to take over; do your thing out there. You’ve been learning from us the past two or three years; now it’s time to play.’”

To sum up Favors’ reaction to that sentiment: FINALLY!

The beginning of his NBA career was filled with a hope for quickly establishing himself in the league and the dreaded anticipation of being traded, something that was rumored for much of his rookie season leading up to that midseason deal.

“I was just waiting for my chance to prove myself,” Favors said.

After being dealt to Utah, Favors’ first thought was, “Utah. Wow.” Once he arrived in Utah, he quickly discovered that the Jazz had two veteran big men — Millsap and Jefferson — who led the team in scoring and minutes played.

Less wow. More waiting.

“It was frustrating at first,” he admitted. “Then I had to sit down and just realize that these two guys are good and I’ve just got to learn as much as I can from them, but it was frustrating at first.”

He's played more minutes than he had in NJ.

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In 2011, Favors began the lockout-shortened season as the starting power forward ahead of Millsap. That, however, lasted two games before he returned to a reserve role that continued through the 2012-13 campaign.

That meant more waiting for the young man hoping to win a championship and become an All-Star and Hall of Famer.

On one hand, Favors understood. He even admitted, “I knew Paul was better than me.” But the Olympic team candidate and 2012 NBA “Rising Star” selection likes sitting on the bench about as much as he enjoyed the lower-back injury that left him feeling “mad as hell” and spoiled his Team USA scrimmage in Vegas last Thursday.

“I still keep it with me as motivation, just deep down in me as motivation,” said Favors, who's averaged 8.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 23.4 minutes per game in his first three seasons.

“I was thankful and blessed to play behind (Millsap and Jefferson) because those two (were) great guys and I learned a lot from them, but I still use it as motivation. … I’m not going to let that happen to me again.”

This won’t come as a shock to fans familiar with Corbin’s tendency to play veterans over younger guys, but the Jazz coach believes Favors’ career will benefit from biding his time behind Millsap.

“I think it’s always helped guys to have to earn whatever they get,” Corbin said. “They don’t like it, but the ones who use it right as motivation and continue to work, I think it can be a great thing for them going down the road.”

I agree with Ty. I still think Millsap should be there fighting for minutes with them. Handing Burke the keys when he isn't ready isn't doing him any favors.
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