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Derrick Favors Unfazed by Nets' Pursuit of Anthony

Nov 5, 2010 – 4:25 PM
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Tim Povtak

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- As a 19-year-old rookie – and the youngest player in the NBANets power forward Derrick Favors easily could have been rattled by the constant trade rumors, knowing he was, and still is, dangling like bait on a fishing line, just waiting to see if the Denver Nuggets bite with Carmelo Anthony.

Maybe that's why a good solid start to his NBA career is more than a little surprising. It hasn't fazed him.

"It might have bothered me a little at first, but I don't pay attention to it now. You just ignore it,'' Favors said early Friday afternoon before a game against the Magic. "I just go about my business. And that's trying to get a little better every day. That's all it's about now for me.''

Favors, the No. 2 pick in the 2010 Draft, has been a key component in the Nets pursuit of Anthony, the high-scoring, three-time All-Star who has expressed a desire to return to the New York/New Jersey area before he becomes a free agent this summer.

First it was Favors as part of a four-team deal that also involved Charlotte and Utah. Then it was Favors as part of a two-team deal that also involved a variety of his teammates. Although the Nets have liked him from the start, the prospect of landing a star like Anthony overrides everything else.

"Nice to know you have value,'' Favors was able to joke.

Although he looked unsure of himself in the Summer League, and not much better during the exhibition schedule, he has responded in the first four games of the regular season.

Averaging only 22 minutes in a reserve role, he also has averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds. He has shot an impressive 61.5 percent from the field.

He had his first double-double in a loss to the Miami Heat, getting 13 points and 13 rebounds, including 10 at the offensive end. He had eight points and 10 rebounds in his debut against Detroit.

For someone so young, playing just one season at Georgia Tech, he has shown some impressive poise and a good understanding of the NBA game.

"We're beyond pleased,'' said Nets coach Avery Johnson Friday. "We're ecstatic with where he is. He makes smart plays on the floor. He's very coachable, and he's pretty strong for his age. You've got to see him two years from now, with 10-15 more pounds of muscle, 21-22 years old, and shooting much better.''

If he stays in New Jersey, the Nets plan to play him alongside budding center Brook Lopez, giving them a very young and very promising front line for many years into the future.

If he goes to Denver, not much will change with him. Either team will be getting a player who is being compared now to a young version of Amar'e Stoudemire or Kevin Garnett. At 6-10, 246 pounds, he has the size and athleticism to become either one.

"I knew with the work I put it in, it would start paying off sooner or later. It's a tough league. Everyone is strong, and you have to keep working every day to get better,'' Favors said. "I'll be spending time in the weight room.''

With someone so young, the Nets have been cautious with him early this season, preferring to hold down his minutes and keep him in a non-starting role.

"He just needs to go through an 82-game season, back-to-back games, be on the court,'' Johnson said. "He's in a position now to have a successful start to a very dominating career. If you look in our crystal ball, we like what we see.''
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