While it is true that more is going to be asked of Gordon Hayward offensively, it is probably understated how much he has already been asked to use possessions* up to this point. When Tyrone Corbin opted to bring Hayward off the bench last season it did allow him to use more possessions (0.48 possessions per minute of playing time), but even the year before in 2011-12, when Hayward was on the floor with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, Hayward was still able to use 0.42 possessions per minute. For reference sakes, Jefferson used about 0.55 possessions per minute (ppm) and Millsap used 0.5.
Increased Playing Time, Not Necessarily Usage
Hayward will likely see a small uptick in his ppm usage, but really his increased minutes will be the reason that he is asked to use more possessions this season. Last season Hayward used about 14 possessions per game in 29 minutes of action, but this season, we can expect Hayward to use about 19.5 possessions per 36 minutes.
Take the Shot, Gordon; You're Our Only Hope
Not every player that has moved from a supportive offensive weapon to a primary one, has used more possessions per minute, but almost all change the way they use a possession. Last season Hayward used almost 55% of his possessions on highly efficient shots off cuts, spot ups and in transition. This year, he will most likely have less of those opportunities and will take more shots off pick n rolls or in isolation. It’s safe to assume that Hayward’s overall offensive efficiency will decrease for this reason. By looking at the historical precedence of such a situation, an expected dip in offensive efficiency would be 0.92 points per possession this season, down from 0.97 last year.
In Gordon's Defense
Most fans will probably speak about Hayward’s increased offensive numbers this season (due to minutes, not efficiency), but he will also have the opportunity to prove himself defensively. If the Jazz are able to become a top 10 or even above average defense, there’s a chance that Hayward could get some recognition guarding opposing teams’ best perimeter players night in and night out for long stretches. Even when paired with Marvin Williams or Brandon Rush, Hayward will find himself guarding guys like Lebron James, and Kevin Durant in crunch time. It will be one of the steps in Hayward’s growth as team leader.
Given all of these circumstances and assuming good health, 9 months from now Hayward should see a large increase in per game numbers and general perception among NBA fans. It should also increase his overall monetary value in the league as well, if Hayward finds himself in restricted free agency.
2013-14 projection per 36 minutes
*Use of an offensive possession is taking a shot, getting to the free throw line, or turning the ball over.
Gordon Hayward’s Contract and Jazz future
Hayward is under contract for 1 more year at $3.5MM. As everyone in Jazzland knows, Hayward is currently negotiating an extension to his rookie scale contract. His extension could start as high as approximately $15MM with annual raises of 7.5%, and could be for as long as 4 years (assuming the Jazz do not make Hayward their "Designated Player" which would allow them to extend him for 5 years). At this point it seems unlikely that the Jazz would offer Hayward a maximum contract but if Hayward is willing to accept something at a bit of a discount then a deal could still be made. The Jazz have until Thursday to extend Hayward this year and these things often go up to the last minute, so stay tuned.
If the Jazz do not extend Hayward, then they will likely make him a restricted free agent next summer by tendering him a qualifying offer after the season (but prior to June 30, 2014). The qualifying offer amount is $4.7MM, which Hayward could sign making him a Jazzman for 1 more season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2015. However, a more likely result would be Hayward signing a long-term deal with the Jazz or alternatively, signing an offer sheet to join another team, which the Jazz hold a right of first refusal to match. Next summer the Jazz could re-sign Hayward to a 5 year contract (without using their "Designated Player" option) with the same 7.5% raises. Teams attempting to sign Hayward to an offer sheet can offer no more than 4 years and 4.5% raises.
At this point I believe the likely scenario is that the Jazz decide to let the 2013-14 season play out in order to help them better gauge how much Hayward is worth to the franchise. While Hayward may prefer the financial security of a long-term contract now, he also has incentive to go out and star this year and earn himself a max deal. Barring a catastrophic performance this season, I fully expect Hayward to re-sign next summer and he should be a Jazzman for the foreseeable future.
-Peter J Novak
Gordon Hayward does not get fazed in pressured situations. In Haywards second regular season game in the NBA, Deron Williams threw a ball at Hayward’s head for not running the right route. Hayward handled the situation with grace, he didn’t get upset, he didn’t retaliate in return, nor did he pout. Hayward also faced an awkward situation in the 2011-2012 season when former Dallas guard Delonte West gave Hayward a "wet willie". Once again Hayward remained calm and collected. Hayward told a story to Jody Genessy of when he was playing tennis in HS. Hayward was quite upset during a particular match and threw his hat down in anger while changing sides, Haywards mother left the match because of his action. Hayward saw the disappointment in his mother’s eyes when she left. Hayward made a promise to himself that he would never show his anger or disappointment in such a manner again.
Hayward’s calm presence will benefit the young Utah Jazz team this season. There will be many disappointing losses, tricky veterans from opposing teams who will try to gain the advantage by moves like Deron Williams and Delonte West’s, throughout the season and there will be unexpected wins which will lead to unusual highs. Hayward’s placid personality will help a young team stay focused and continue on the course of a long 82 game season.