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Las Vegas • Even with an undeniable new layer of muscle, Derrick Favors has a long way to go to catch his newest mentor in terms of bulk. That's because almost any NBA would have a long way to go to catch Favors' newest mentor in terms of bulk. That, in turn, is because his newest mentor is Karl Malone.
Favors, the projected started power forward for the Jazz, has spent nearly two months working out daily alongside the No. 2 scorer in NBA history. No, Favors has not taken to running sprints with parachutes tied to his waist.
Not yet, anyhow.
The two Jazz big men are working primarily on a different muscle, Favors said.
"He just taught me just a lot of mental stuff," he said. "During workouts we're just talking. He was just showing me things here and there, that everything was mostly mental."
Of course, Malone isn't settling for a coaching role. Favors said Malone will "try to outwork me in one little workout or something."
Even at 50 Malone's birthday is, of course, on state holiday Pioneer Day the Mailman sets a high bar.
"Might sound crazy," Favors said, "but the hardest thing was getting ready to work out with him. He wanted me to be in shape, be ready before he got there. We did a lot of things, a lot of conditioning stuff so he wanted me to be ready for him." They have played one-on-one, although he said they haven't kept score (which fits nicely with General Manager Dennis Lindsey's 2013-14 request not to be judged by wins and losses). However, Favors couldn't resist the opportunity to brag a little.
"He don't want me to tell nobody," Favors intoned quietly, "but I beat him at H-O-R-S-E one time." Serious inquiry: How many people on earth can say that?
The Jazz announced earlier this year that Malone would work periodically with Favors, as well as Jazz center Enes Kanter. However, Kanter underwent April shoulder surgery and was rehabbing in Chicago before recently going to Santa Barbara and training site P3.
- Bill Oram