Derrick Favors is going to start.
That much is certain.
"He's got to give us a reason to start him," Nets head coach Avery Johnson said before his team's 104-88 loss to the Orlando Magic at Prudential Center on Monday night. "We need to see more consistent energy. We need to see him dunk on three people one night. We need to see more than what he's been giving us.
"Yes, he's 19. Yes, he's a rookie. But one of the discussions we had [Sunday] was we just need to see a little bit more energy."
Favors, the NBA's youngest player, didn't really bring much energy to the table on Monday night, registering just two points, five rebounds and one block in 17 minutes.
"I think I did good for the most part," Favors told a group of reporters surrounding his locker postgame. "But I still have to pick it up a little bit more."
Johnson was asked if Favors gave him what he was looking for.
"No, not tonight," Johnson replied.
Johnson said earlier in the season that Favors would be given the chance to start about 30 games into the season. But Johnson has been unimpressed with his recent play.
"You can't go through five games without a block," Johnson said before the game. "We need to see blocks and dunks -- even attempted dunks. I don't mind if he goes and tries to attempt a dunk on somebody and gets a charge and really just be into the game.
"When you're only playing 14, 16, 18, 20 minutes, there's no saving yourself. You should play to exhaustion."
Still, on a rebuilding team, Favors needs to see minutes so he can develop. That's why Johnson's handling him has been in question. And it will continue to be unless Favors is inserted into the starting five.
Unfortunately, he hasn't given Johnson a reason to start him. And until he does, expect Favors to continue to come off the bench and provide energy: something he hasn't been doing of late.