NCAA Swing analysis of Harpring, Korver, Brewer, Almond, Matthews and Hayward

[EDITED July 2nd - Tables should now show, 2nd table was corrected, text changed to reflect new calculations]

First of all, sorry this is super late - I have no free time.

Okay, now that's out of the way, let's talk about Gordon Hayward. I know that he's listed as anything from 6'8/197 to 6'9/215. I think that no matter what his actual size, he's going to end up being one of the interchangeable wing players in the Jazz offense. He has a number of talents, as super Jazz fan #1 (aka UtesFan89) already enumerated. He can handle the ball a bit; drive and dish; and get rebounds. Coach Jerry Sloan is bonkers for wings who rebound. Deron Williams is also okay with playing off the ball a little bit (see: Brown, Dee; Head, Luther -- college teammates whom he shared the ball with), and going into shooting mode when necessary.

He's a big game player who looks to have a promising future in the NBA. Hayward had a really good tournament (how can this be denied as he led his team to the national championship game?) and appears to have a very high Basketball IQ. I don't hate this pick, but I was kinda expecting more from the mythical Knicks pick. I don't watch much college basketball, so in order to evaluate this guy I had to look at the stats. And in the desire for empiricism, I had to compare him to a few guys: Matt Harpring, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, Morris Almond and Wesley Matthews. These are all swingmen who have played for the Jazz in recent years, and all guys who went to college. (C.J. Miles did not, so I could not include him here)

Short analysis: He's like a mix of all of these players

Long analysis: click to read on . . .

Understanding draft picks (without actually being a scout or having the gift of foresight) based off of just their pre-draft measurements and NCAA statistics is quite akin to Arnold Schwarzenegger going undercover in a kindergarden. It ends up just becoming a guessing game better known as "who is your daddy, and what does he do?" Okay, maybe it's actually a bit more fruitful than that exercise. In fact, one can learn quite a bit from simply just the numbers.

Let's all look at how Hayward measures up to Harpring, Korver, Brewer, Almond and Matthews.

If anything, we fully well notice just how much of an amazing athlete Ronnie Brewer is by comparing him to the other guys he was competing with for playing time. After that we can notice some similarities between the players. Most of them were within 1" from being 6'7. Hayward is the tallest. (woo!) Unfortunately, out of the individuals who were so measured, he has the shortest wingspan. (This was a significant knock on J.J. Redick once his pre-draft measurements came out) A longer wingspan is very useful in the Utah Jazz deflection happy defense. We only need to look at the length of the Lakers which not only hurt us when they were getting layup after layup in the paint, but also in their ability to clog passing lanes with their gangly arms. Having longer arms can really help keep an offensive player honest if you aren't quick enough to stay in front of him. This is, after all, how a guy like Andrei Kirilenko could guard much quicker players and still be able to hamper them into missing shots. Further complicating things are the fact that Hayward is the tallest and skinniest guy there, and somehow also has the worst lane agility. (This is the speed that attempts to measure defensive movement) So out of all of these guys he's the slowest on defense, and has the shortest arms.He has a very healthy reach, but that's more a product of his height than anything else.

We were all told that he was a surprising athlete, but that may just be a result of his 3/4 court sprint (3.22 seconds). He's a lot faster than Korver, and Harpring we could also presume, but Morris Almond left him in the dirt in comparison. (Yes, that Morris Almond) His jumping ability was also superior to Korver, so that's good. It may make up for the fact that Korver has both longer arms, and a much quicker release. All-in-all, I was not too blown away by his measurements. But of course, it's not just all about the measurements (the 'who is your daddy' question, if you will) -- after all, Kirk Synder and Kris Humphries dominated their pre-draft combines when it came to their bench press and speed. It did not make them good basketball players. Alternatively, Monta Ellis couldn't even lift the bar up once - and he's a pretty solid guard in the NBA.

It would seem like the more important factor would be actual NCAA game performance (the 'what does he do' question for you Kindergarden Cops out there). Here's the breakdown of that:

Okay, I use more than just the regular stats you see in a boxscore. So I guess I should explain them.

GO Rating is short for Gestalt Offense. It's a complex formula that factors and weighs different offensive statistics. It's based upon a few premises (like an average player will shoot 75% from the free throw line, or has a 1.25 assist:turn over ratio and so forth). This value attempts to enumerate the amount of pressure an individual player puts on the defense. (Bigger number is better) Chris Mullin had a career regular season GO Rating of 87.719 for example. Scottie Pippen only had a 71.431. So it doesn't mean someone with a higher GO Rating is an over-all better player, just a better offensive player. Anything above 100 is a multiple-time All-Star. Mid 80's is a 2nd option, and so forth.

eFG% is ones effective FG%, which incorporates three point shooting and assigns a 'truer' value for your field goal shooting based upon difficulty (as seen by range). This statistic rewards players who take and make a number of three pointers. (And as a result, a pretty good thing to measure for swingmen)

Shooting Worth (SW) measures the worth of a shot. Some individuals are volume shooters and need a number of shots to get their gaudy scoring numbers. A classic example of this would be Allen Iverson. The average for an NBA Player in this era is around 1.22 -- a shooting worth that's less than this indicates a guy who should shoot less. A shooting worth that's higher indicates an efficient scorer. Karl Malone has a career shooting worth of 1.409. For comparison, Patrick Ewing (who got all the shots he wanted in NY) had a much more average shooting worth of 1.238.

Shooting Frequency (SF) measures how frequently a guy takes a shot (duh). This is, essentially, the number of minutes of playing time an individual needs to play before taking a single shot. A lower number means someone shoots more often than not. Shoot first point guard Allen Iverson shot the ball once ever 1.874 minutes (1:52 of playing time) -- which is quite frequently; by comparison Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton shot the ball once every 3.497 minutes (once every 3:30 minsof play for those who don't understand math). Big difference.

Defensive Gambling (DG) measures how 'lucky' a player is when they attempt to block a shot or steal the ball vs. how frequently they are called for a foul. This is an equation of sum of weighted blocks and steals over fouls. Pippen, a great defender, had a career DG of 1.41 Atlanta's Josh Smith(not including this past season) had a career DG of 1.645.

Pure Hustle (PH) is like DG, but it includes offensive rebounds and turn overs. I could go on and on about my stats, but I already did that back at my independent blog -- you can read all about it there

Now that we (kind of) understand all my terms, let's delve into the comparison of Hayward against all the other recent Jazz swings who played in college. Clearly he has a smaller sample size (only 69 games - due to leaving college early) which works against him. Still, we are able to identify a number of areas to be happy with.

He more than holds his own when it comes to rebounds (2nd), steals (3rd) and blocks (1st). (Take that all you wingspan haters!) Even better is that his inferential stats on defense are quite inspiring. He has a Defensive Gambling rating of 1.479 (2nd) -- which if you have been paying attention, means that he's almost one and a half times as likely of getting a block or steal than he is of getting called for a foul. (Of course, this will change as an NBA Rookie -- see: The Millsap Effect) Also his Pure Hustle Rating was very high, 1.305 (3nd) - bested only by Ronnie Brewer and Matt Hapring himself.

Of course, he was not drafted for his ability to dive for lose balls or not get called for fouls. He is supposed to be a very solid offensive player. This is not reflected at all by his GO Rating - there is only one guy worse than him, and that's Wes Matthews. Who? Oh yeah, the undrafted rookie who started on a team that won 50 games andhelped get his team to the second round by playing tough defense on Carmelo Anthony. Haywards lack of success here is more indicative of the type of game he was asked to play at Butler than any perceived inability to play at the NBA level. (case in point: Wes) What really hurts his rating is the fact that he shoots the ball once every 3:36 minutes on the floor (or 3.603 minutes). That's perfect for an NBA Rookie, but far from what some NCAA 'stars' aspire for. Morris Almond scored more ppg in 11 less minutes because of how frequently he shot the ball. This is another indication that shooting a lot does not make for NBA success. Despite shooting so infrequently, Hayward was still able to get to the free throw line nearly as many times a game as Carlos Boozer does in the playoffs. (Actually a bit more than Booz)

His percentages were middle of the pack except for when it involved three point shooting. We all heard about his struggles from behind the line as a Soph. This means little when you look at his entire career - where he still manged to make 36.943 3pt% (3rd) and have a nearly Korver-like 56.151 eFG% (2nd).The only real knock I can see (aside from his decision to be a team player andhardly shoot the ball) would be his assist numbers. For a guy with a lauded court vision and high Basketball IQ he only managed 1.812 (5th) assists per game -- besting only the black hole called Morris Almond. Maybe this is just him passing the ball to guys who can't score? I don't know, I did not watch college basketball - so Hayward (and Almond) get a pass from me in this regard. His assist:turn over ratio was not much better though (0.906) and looks to only improve when he learns the Utah Jazz offense.

He appears to be (statistically at least) a hybrid mix of a Jeff Hornacek (secondary play initiator with solid shooting percentages) and a Bryon Russell (size, hustle and not jacking shots) - for lack of better terms. The best aspect of his game, statistically, seems to be his understanding of the true value of a shot. He does not shoot often, but when he does, it's worth very much - 1.565 (1st), which is higher than Malone's careeer NBA shooting worth. He should be adequate on defense and be able to keep the defense honest when he's left open. If anything, he should take a little bit from each of the players he was compared to and add it to his game.

Harpring- Master the Harpring Curl and know how to move without the ball

Korver - work on getting a quicker shot release

Brewer - learn to read passing angles in order to get more deflections, despite the physical limitations of his wingspan

Almond - know that sometimes you have to take more shots

Matthews - understand that if you want to play for Sloan, you gotta play defense

Now if you excuse me, I have to go youtube more Kindergarden Cop videos . . . they are better than the Gordon Hayward rap videos for sure (That is something he can pick up from C.J. Miles)

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