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Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder talks with forward Derrick Favors (15) as the Utah Jazz and the Perth Wildcats play in an exhibition basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (Scott Winterton, Deseret News)
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Derrick Favors Formally Introduced With New Orleans Pelicans

Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder talks with forward Derrick Favors (15) as the Utah Jazz and the Perth Wildcats play in an exhibition basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (Scott Winterton, Deseret News)

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The New Orleans Pelicans officially introduced former Jazzman Derrick Favors along with three other acquisitions for the team in Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram.

Favors was traded during the free agency period by the Utah Jazz to the Pelicans in exchange for two draft picks.

“Derrick is somebody that, going back to the time I was in Cleveland, we’d always had a great deal of affinity for,” said Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin. “Derrick was in a situation where he was probably best suited as a center and he was playing behind one of maybe the five best centers in the league. Makes it hard to play the natural position that you should play. So, he was asked to play what we considered out of position a lot, at the four, in a league that’s gotten progressively smaller.”

Griffin also touched on his potential that is still there offensively.

“They (Utah) were bigger than everyone else in the front court,” Griffin added. “So, I think what happened was a lot of Derrick’s game was probably left untouched, particularly offensively. He’s a special defensive player, he’s an elite rim protector and somebody who can do a lot of different things on the defensive end to change a game. We feel like he can do the same thing offensively. I know coach (Alvin) Gentry is really excited about what he’ll look like playing center on a full time basis for us.”

Favors will wear No. 22 for the Pelicans.

Un-Tapped Offensive Skill-Set

Griffin mentioned that the Jazz wanted to trade Favors to a team that he would feel comfortable with and the former Jazzman chose the Pelicans.

“It means a lot to me,” Favors said at the press conference about the excitement the Pelicans have when they acquired him. “In the past years, I was playing behind probably one of the best defensive players in the league for a long time. I wasn’t able to do a lot of things that I can do on a daily basis. So, when we spoke (with Griffin), he said ‘we think you have an untapped offensive skill-set’ and I was excited about that. So that was one of the reasons I chose to come here, because I knew the position I’ll be in. I knew the guys who I’ll be playing with, and the organization and the team. I thought it was a great fit for me.

The Pelicans style of play is different from Quin Snyder and the Utah Jazz. They play at a fast pace, where the Jazz play slower and move the ball more. Favors feels he can adjust quickly to the change in style.

“I can adapt to it,” Favors mentioned. “It was about design out there (in Utah) because of the way we was playing, but coming down here, and knowing that we’re going to play at a fast pace, I can adapt to it.”

Bringing Leadership To Pelicans

When Favors was traded to New Orleans, it was brought up multiple times how important his leadership will be to the organization because he will get to mentor the No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson.

“I think out there (in Utah), we were just a tight knit group,” Favors said about what he brought to Utah. “Everybody respected everybody, and everybody worked hard. Guys looked up to everybody and hopefully I can bring the same mindset here. Just come in and work hard every day. Just have respect for each other, sometimes you might have to sacrifice minutes or scoring opportunities just for the betterment of the team, and I think once everybody buys into that, I think that’s how you get tighter as a group and you start winning more games. The games start to become a little bit more fun after that.”

He will get to play alongside Jrue Holiday, who is an underrated guard in the NBA.

“I’ve known Jrue since high school,” Favors said. “We played against each other a lot at AAU. After the trade was announced, he sent me a text and we exchanged a couple of text messages and that was it.”