Don’t call out Derrick Favors.
Or better yet, if you’re part of the Utah Jazz management team, go ahead and do it. Apparently it works.
Coming off a preseason in which he underachieved, the Jazz big man notched 10 rebounds and two blocked shots, plus six points, as Utah knocked off the Dallas Mavericks in Wednesday night.
The Jazz won their 2012-13 season opener 113-94.
Earlier in the day, Kevin O’Connor, Utah’s vice president for basketball operations, indicated he didn’t think Favors came to training camp in tip-top shape. After the game, Favors said he didn’t like that implication.
“I don’t like people calling me out like that … in a good way,” Favors said. “You call me out like that, I turn into a different person.”
The 21-year-old was quick to defuse any controversy by indicating he wasn’t mad at O’Connor.
Following Wednesday’s morning shootaround, O’Connor gently questioned Favors’ fitness.
“(Not everybody improves) on a certain pattern and level,” he said. “I saw this summer he did a terrific job. Watching him in preseason I think it took him a while to get his legs underneath him. I don’t think he came in in the shape that kind of he wanted to. I think he got a little surprised at how quickly we were going to play this year.”
Favors averaged 9.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in the preseason. He started two games and came off the bench for five.