Three years ago, the then New Jersey Nets jettisoned third overall pick Derrick Favors in a package that netted them All-Star point guard Deron Williams. At the time, Favors' potential had NBA scouts frothing at the mouth, while Williams was supposed to elevate the Nets to new heights as a franchise savior. Fast forward to today, and it seems everyone is still waiting for successful results.
Favors hasn't been terrible during his time in the league by any stretch. But he hasn't exactly lived up to the hype either. While he flashed elite talent at times last year, those flares came too inconsistently for the Utah Jazz's liking. Williams, on the other hand, has disappointed due to injuries and conditioning concerns during his stint with the Nets thus far. Favors' short career and the Nets' campaigns in the Eastern Conference have both been ho-hum since the deal.
But, signs point to a break out for both parties this season.
With Brook Lopez coming back from injury, the Nets are set to welcome back the most talented scoring big man in the league. Fans will see a spike in Williams' game with his best teammate on the floor healthy and effective. Williams' own health is also a major reason why a bounce back year is within reach. He declared himself fully healthy after offseason surgery on both of his ankles.
"When you can't run, can't jump, it's hard to play basketball, especially in this league," Williams said at his annual charity dodge ball event on Monday. "The only thing I wish is I would've got surgery earlier, but what can you do? I'm ready to go now and excited about the season."
On the other side of the trade is Favors, who is still waiting to make a significant impact on the league. New Jazz coach, Quin Snyder, plans to play into Favors' strengths this season in order to help the 23-year-old fulfill his potential.
Favors is expected to play center in Snyder's new offense. Largely gone are the days of him occupying the low post. Much of his time will be spent playing pick-and-roll basketball with the guards, according to an article by Tony Jones from the The Salt Lake Tribune.
"[H]eading into his fifth season, the Jazz big man knows that he needs to expand his offensive game and continue to evolve into a defensive and rebounding force at the other end of the floor," Jones wrote. "To that end, Favors' off-season has been dedicated to expanding the range on his jumper, adding moves with his back to the basket and losing weight."
New schemes, new coaches, healthy players; Utah and New York are hoping this is the formula to a winning season. It has been three years since this blockbuster trade occurred. It's about time for both teams to start reaping the benefits.