Derrick Favors on his Spurs interview
Derrick Favors does not speak Russian, but he’s willing to learn.
Yesterday Steve Kyler reported that the Spurs had interviewed Derrick Favors during this year’s draft combine. The situation is strange so far as the Spurs draft at 20 and Favors is currently the consensus No. 3 pick.
The Favors interview is reminiscent of another unlikely player interview: last year the Spurs interviewed DeJuan Blair as part of the Draft Combine process.
If that doesn’t make sense, then note this. Teams are Â limited to 8 player interviews per day, and it’s uncommon for teams to interview more than, say, 15 players over the course of the combine. The idea is to spend a significant amount of time with a handful of players. The Spurs must be selective. They interview those players for whom they have a serious interest.
The Spurs selected at 37 last year, and Blair was a consensus lottery pick. It’s still uncertain whether the Spurs were interested in moving up for Blair or if they just suspected he might slide into the second round. But the time they spent with Blair was, perhaps, the most valuable moment of their 2009 Draft Combine.
What’s up with Favors? Are the Spurs trying to move up, or do they suspect Favors will slide toward the 20th overall pick? No one is sure.
And Favors isn’t offering any theories of his own.
“They were just asking about basketball, trying to get to know me better,” Favors said.
But Favors isn’t naive.
“I thought it [the Spurs' decision to interview him] was odd at first. But as I talked to them and got to know them, I thought maybe they’re trying to get at me.”
Favors described the interview as “basketball-related,” suspecting the Spurs were simply trying to get a sense of his basketball IQ. Â He didn’t think there was anything noteworthy about the interview, except that the Spurs were drafting later than other teams seeking his time.
It would be easy to read too much into the mere fact of a player interview. Teams are here to talk, and maybe the Favors interview is just an example of the Spurs doing their due diligence. That’s likely the case. But, at a minimum, it’s something to note as we inch closer to the draft.
I was able to speak with each of the following players to confirm the Spurs had sought them out for an interview: James Anderson, Xavier Henry, Luke Babbitt, Paul George, Damion James, Stanley Robinson, Gordon Hayward and, of course, Derrick Favors. Â This is not to say the Spurs didn’t interview others, but all of those players are certain interviewees.