Derrick Favors’ defense earned him the payday.

The Utah Jazz made no bones about that in October, when they signed the fourth-year big man to a four-year, $49 million extension. As general manager Dennis Lindsey tries to build a winner in Salt Lake City, Favors, a 6-foot-10, athletic rim protector, was to be the anchor of his defense.

So when questions about the other half of Favors’ game came up, Lindsey wasn’t worried. The offense would "define itself" in due time, he said.

Twenty games into the season, and due time might pass sooner than most expected. Favors’ offensive game looks more polished than it ever has, as he averages a career-best 13.7 points a night, the second-highest scorer on the Jazz.

"He’s worked his butt off to continue to get better," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said, "and he’s made some moves this year that he couldn’t make last year."

The 22-year-old spent most of his offseason in Salt Lake City, working with his coaches, developing "my face-up game, jump shots, driving to the basket, hook shoots, spin moves, whatever."

He attended a USA basketball camp in Vegas, competing with the best.

"I was out there with a lot of good players," he said. "It helped out a lot. I learned I could compete with them."

He’s shown it on the floor.

"I’m just getting comfortable," he said. "Getting comfortable with the system. Just taking my time with the offense, not rushing it and letting the game come to me."

On Monday, against Houston’s Dwight Howard, Favors hit on all six of his shots, finishing with 14 points to go along with 13 rebounds.

On Wednesday, with the talk focused on the battle between Gordon Hayward and Paul George, it was Favors who, for one night at least, looked like the best player on the floor from that 2010 draft class.

He pump-faked and drove past Luis Scola, floating a shot over the arms of Roy Hibbert, the league’s best shot-blocker. Another time, he bumped into Hibbert’s midsection, stepped under the rim and hit a reverse layup off the glass.