Favors in for 'roller-coaster' rookie year

NEWARK, N.J. - Avery Johnson will not officially announce his starting lineup until later tonight. But the coach did reveal that, as expected, 19-year-old rookie Derrick Favors will not start at power forward in the season-opener tonight against Detroit.

Johnson was complimentary of Favors after the Nets' shootaround on Wednesday morning , noting the Nets' first-round pick has a “high basketball IQ.” He cited the fact that Favors, selected third in the 2010 Draft, was the only Net to get a perfect score on an exam the team administered. He scored a 90 on the second test, according to Johnson.

Still, he cautioned that Favors’ rookie season will be “a roller coaster ride.”

“We’ll evaluate where we are on with him after the 41st game of the season,” the coach said. “But whatever happens with Derrick we’re not going to get too low or too high.”

Johnson said Favors has been quick to grasp defensive concepts. “Even when he screws it up, he knows exactly what he did wrong,” the coach said.

Either Joe Smith or Kris Humphries will start at power forward against the Pistons.

Johnson said he would have to monitor Smith’s knee injury, which he played through during preseason. He also wanted to see how Smith responded to playing in back-to-back games.

“We have to see how healthy he is,” Johnson said.

The coach plans to use three power forwards every night and said small forward Travis Outlaw could also see time at power forward. He mentioned that he’d stick with a three power-forward rotation even when expected starter Troy Murphy (back) returns. That means, in theory, either Humphries or Smith will be out of the rotation when Murphy is healthy enough to play.