According to the good folks at NBAdraft.net — the best site of its ilk, IMHO — Georgia Tech freshman Derrick Favors is now No. 6 in its 2010 mock. That’s down from No. 2 earlier this month, and that’s a rather significant drop.
There’s a reason. Given his hype, Favors isn’t having much of a freshman season. He’s averaging 11.1 points and 8.6 rebounds, and even those numbers mislead. Over the past eight games he’s averaging 9 points and 8.4 rebounds, with 22 turnovers and 20 fouls against seven assists. He has scored in double figures once in four ACC games.
In sum, he doesn’t resemble the player he was at South Atlanta High, where he was considered the nation’s top recruit by Scout.com. (John Wall, ranked No. 2, is not only the best freshman but the best player in the college game. And he’ll be the NBA’s No. 1 pick in June.)
Maybe we should have seen this coming. Favors was a post player in high school. Tech already had a post player — Gani Lawal, who’s having a great junior season and who NBAdraft.net projects as going 24th this summer. Favors is playing power forward and facing the basket, and he’s struggling from the change. (Hence the turnovers.) Sometimes you watch Tech for long stretches and you forget Favors is on the roster.
And that, for NBA scouts, is the issue. They come to Tech games in bunches and they leave having seen Favors do very little. Owing to fouls and Hewitt’s substitution whirl and the emergence of Zachery Peacock as Tech’s best clutch scorer, Favors doesn’t play very long. He worked 23 minutes against Charlotte, 21 against Georgia and 19 against North Carolina. And when scouts can’t evaluate what they can’t see.
From Tech’s perspective, there’s an encouraging flip side. Even with their most talented player struggling, the Jackets are climbing. Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com rates Tech a No. 5 NCAA tournament seed in his latest edition of Bracketology. Andy Glockner of SI.com has the Jackets a No. 6 seed, and Ryan Fagans of Sporting News Today has them a No. 4.
And that’s without Derrick Favors at anywhere close to peak capacity. Imagine how far the Jackets might go if he gets rolling. Elite Eight, maybe? Final Four, perhaps?