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What's A Gordon Hayward?

Now, I'm not someone that has seen much of Gordon Hayward. I will admit that; I am mostly going off of what I've read, written by people that have seen a lot more of Hayward than me. So I would like, first, to stress that I'm not hating on Hayward... that's not my problem. He's on the Jazz, I've supported him from the second it was announced that he was going to be our pick (my SBNation picture is even of Hayward, like it has been of Eric Maynor, Kosta Koufos, Kyrylo Fesenko & Morris Almond before him). He's on the Jazz, and has my full support.

My beef is with the fact that he was picked above guys I thought would've been better fits for the Jazz at #9. Henry and Babbitt are better shooters. Anderson and Bradley are better defenders. Aldrich is a shot-blocking big. Patterson could have been the replacement for Boozer. Henry and Davis both have a lot more upside. We're going to need cheap players; trading down could've net us 2 picks instead of just 1. Maybe not Hayward later, but both a wing (there were a ton of them) and a big (maybe no one special, but more than we have right now). (BBJ already covered this.)

Whatever. The pick is in, and as we know, the Jazz are now the proud owners of a Gordon Hayward. So lets take a look... what exactly is a Gordon Hayward? Time to find out more about our newest player (well, one of them... we'll see what I can find on Evans later). Pros. Cons. Forecast. Comparison.


NBA FanHouse

A good passer who is constantly looking for others and rarely takes poor shots, Hayward will immediately fit in with his new team given his unselfishness and overall willingness to make others better. Although not the quickest laterally, he is a pretty good defender, giving credence to his high basketball IQ and understanding of where he needs to be. A constant threat on the glass, Hayward crashes the boards all game long, always jockeying for position vying to create extra possessions with his hustle.

Finishes well at the rim. Solid pull-up game from 16-feet in. Gets to the FT line and shoots 83%. Natural scorer. Knows where he needs to be on the court. He sounds just like some weird combination of Kyle Korver (minus the range), Matt Harpring (but younger) and Ronnie Brewer (but not as good defensively). Which is weird, because none of those three ever lead us to a championship. But still, I guess we can kinda know what to expect. Good or bad is up to you. Hustle is never bad; Sloan loves that. Of course, hustle led to Flop & Harpring getting too much time, but I'm assuming Hayward will be better than them. And rebounds will be big, especially if Boozer leaves.


On talent alone he’s probably worthy of a pick somewhere between #25 to 30. However, his exceptional intangibles are what make him a possibility to go as high as #15 in what is a very deep draft. Sure, he can shoot with efficiency from long range and has the true size to play small forward in the NBA. Sure, he moves fluidly without the ball and clearly has an advanced sense of offensive game play. Sure, he’s surprisingly crafty with the ball and able to get high quality shots off in traffic. All that is terrific, but again, it’s his intangibles that set him apart. Hayward is a winner.

So he's a winner, and that shoots him up from #30 to #15 (or well, #9). And they're overrating his long range shooting... I don't know in which world shooting 30% from downtown (and a 14% drop in 1 year!) is efficient. I mean, heck... I could shoot that. Fine... I could shoot that if all you counted is lay-ups. But whatever. That's not efficient. In fact, this "strengths" section counters almost all the other ones. Long range? Moving without the ball? We'll see. Winners are good though. He'll work harder to make sure the Jazz win. I hope, at least.

ESPN (via Siena Saints Blog)

Sharp shooter with deep range, Versatile player who can score in a variety of ways, Solid rebounder for a wing, Great size for his position, Adept at picking up steals

Steals are never bad. Again, somewhat like Ronnie Brewer. And I'm not seeing this deep range in the stats... like Jerry Sloan would say, we need makers, not shooters. He's a shooter. Heck, I'm a shooter. I'm not much of a maker though. Hopefully he's A LOT better than I am at that. I'm liking the rebounds and steals though.

Pacers Digest (the whole thing is worth a read, most definitely)

I think he can give you a little point forward in the right system. Hayward pass the ball well, and is careful and trustworthy with it. For a team with a scoring point guard that you want to play off the ball some, you can run plays with him handling the ball for you. And he will make the next pass for you….Hayward might lead this draft class in “hockey assists”.


Hayward is a solid rebounder. He attacks the ball and rebounds outside of his area. He has really good hands, times his leaps well, and I think he reads the ball in the air extremely well. He tries hard, is relentless, and doesn’t get tired and take plays off. He blocks out consistently, and though he can get shoved under the rim sometimes he shows enough fight and high elbows that he physically can hold his own.

I really liked Butler when Hayward would get a defensive rebound, then bring the ball up himself for a quick screen/roll in transition. That is something that can translate to the NBA if a team chooses to have him do that for them.

This I've been reading a ton of. The Jazz used to try to take Deron off-ball sometimes with Brewer or AK running the offense; Hayward seems like he might be able to do that. Good rebounding is good... he won't need to yell at Okur to grab the ball. I'm getting vibes of Harpring again. He's a good (at best) not great defender, but can steer his guys into help defenders. Sadly, we only really have 1 help defender. The transition game could see some usage; quick screen & rolls will be nice to see if the Jazz implement them.


On the offensive end, despite a decrease in three-point shooting percentage this season (45% to 36%, on just 78 attempts), Hayward’s bread and butter is still his outside shot, boasting a high and quick release with range to the NBA three-point line. Hayward’s shot is incredibly smooth, and one of the most impressive aspects of his shooting is his excellent body control and shot selection, as he almost always squares his shoulders and gets his feet underneath him before taking a shot, leading to very few bad misses.

This was written in-season, of course (his 3PT% fell even more). He has range to the 3-point line... which counters what the guys on 1280 said yesterday after he was made the pick. Very few bad misses... the anti-CJ? Of course, a good miss is still a miss, but it doesn't seem like he'll make us cringe when shooting. Unless he's the 30% long-range shooter he was last year.

CONS: (links are the same as above)

NBA FanHouse

Despite his sound shooting mechanics and high release, Hayward was rather inconsistent during his sophomore year from the outside, shooting under 30 percent from three. Because he isn't going to be the physical post-up type of small forward, questions surrounding his perimeter jumper are appropriate.

And this is my biggest worry. Well, one of them. When his shooting percent drops so much from downtown (14% from downtown, 1% in total), something was the reason behind it. What though? (Read on for an explanation) There are questions about his defense that worry me... he's too slow to stick with the wings, too skinny to bang it with the PFs, and the Jazz aren't exactly overflowing in help defenders for him to count on to bail him out. The jumper will be a big part of his offense because he's not one to post up the defender, and if he's shooting 30%, it won't be long before we're having visions of the bad AK and Brewer.


Hayward isn't especially fast or athletic. Undoubtedly, a lot of quicker wings in the pros will look on a pending matchup against Hayward as a prime opportunity to go for 30. That’s why the team and system he goes to must be a good fit for him. He’ll need to be protected within a system that either plays sound team defense and/or has a couple of big time shot blockers playing behind him. He’s also not particularly skilled at driving to the basket. A team that would rely on him more as a spot up shooter with the ability to occasionally break a defense down when the opportunity presents itself would be ideal.

Again, that defense is missing. The team defense might get a small boost this season, we'll see (though trading AK would totally destroy that). We don't have that big-time shot blocker... that's what we were supposed to be looking for. In fact, our best shot blockers might be AK and Evans (if he sticks), too stick-like "bigs". Will that be enough to keep Hayward from looking like Boozer or Korver defensively?

ESPN (via Siena Saints Blog)

Needs to add a lot strength to his frame, Isn’t an elite athlete, Lacks great lateral quickness

Well, that doesn't seem too bad. Again with the Matt Harpring thoughts... though the "lot of strength" needs to be added thing might be more for like AK or CJ or something. Its worth mentioning that ESPN (well, Chad Ford at least) is really, really high on Hayward. Not saying thats good or bad, just saying. Even yesterday, when there was mass confusion before the draft because the Jazz were looking at like 6 players, he said he'd take Hayward if he was the Jazz.

Pacers Digest

Hayward is a good cutter without the ball, but only when he is really forced to do so as part of a set play called by the Butler bench. In the course of normal play action, Hayward has a tendency to stand and not move as much as you’d like. Now, as part of the Butler “ball screen motion” offense, part of that was by design….but still you’d like to see Hayward float to open areas more often, or at least fake people and replace himself rather than just stand as much as he did on tape. You can tell the Butler coaches really tried to design movement for him in their specials, because naturally Hayward just isn’t a guy who moves well without the ball without a specific set play called for him to do so.


Hayward contests shots decently, but often times with the incorrect hand, too low, and too late. You can see him get a hand up often times as the shooter is releasing the ball, too late to effect anything. And he gets out of his stance too much against a speed dribble. Isolate Hayward with no available help and he can have some trouble….but as long as he doesnt need to slide more than once or twice he is ok.

This is going to have to change. With the Jazz, if he's not moving to get open, he's not going to see any time at all. Sitting around the best way to make sure you're in Jerry Sloan's doghouse from the start. He can't get past defenders, and likely won't go one-on-one very often. So its going to come down to getting him for open shots, or he'll be shooting over people (or trying to). Not bad, but I guess we can't expect cuts to the hoop when he has the ball very often. Which is unfortunate because man, even Mehmet Okur drives on his guy now. ... He might need some work on the defensive end. And teams will quickly learn if he struggles in isolation... he's going to need to fix that. Or we're going to need to go get a shot-blocker to back him up on the defensive end.


He’s not a great shot creator off the dribble, however, even though he looks very comfortable pulling up in space.

Um... I'm confused. So he look comfortable but can't create the shot? Or does pulling up in space mean without dribbling? Or is 1 referring to him not being able to drive inside? Whatever, I'm confused, so I'm not knocking Hayward down at all for this.

EXPECTATIONS: (Again, links from above... unless they're linked to here)

NBA FanHouse

The questions marks aside, this is a great kid who is coachable, intelligent, and very talented. He doesn't have the ceiling as other wings who will also be considered in the early teens -- namely mid-major counterparts Paul George and Luke Babbitt -- but Hayward will have every opportunity to become an effective starter in the league. His combination of ball handling, shooting potential, passing and basketball acumen make Hayward one of the safest picks in the entire first round and an early candidate to earn immediate minutes as a rookie.

Yep, seems like a Sloan pick, with regards to the coachable. His ceiling is lower than the other guys (which is part of the reason the pick is a bit surprising... shouldn't the Jazz be trying to get the high-ceiling guy that can propel them ahead of the status quo they're stuck at?), but he's a safe pick it seems. It might be more a case of "what you see is what you get" than "2 years from now, he could be as good as..." but maybe that's what the Jazz were looking for. I actually expected a safe pick deep down... which is why the Ed Davis talk made no sense to me. The Jazz want to win (and win now), and developing young bigs really hasn't worked out (Koufos, Fesenko), so the "safe" pick, while not oozing with potential, probably gives the Jazz a guy that can step in right away.


Something in the range of 12-15 points, 5 rebounds, 100 three pointers and around 45% overall shooting is very well within the realm of possibility. That alone warrants a mid-1st round pick, especially for a veteran team that’s looking to fill some holes.

12-15 points? I can live with that. It won't replace Boozer, but I assume other guys will step up the scoring a notch as well. The "mid-1st round pick" bit was off, but the Jazz are a veteran team (I guess) and were looking to fill some holes, so hey... mission accomplished?

ESPN (via Siena Saints Blog)

Haywood plays like a veteran and uses every skill in a basketball player’s arsenal to score, rebound and defend. He has terrific size and can play several positions. The fact that he isn’t a super athlete limits his potential somewhat, but he makes up for it with toughness and grit.

Plays like a veteran? I guess you can chalk him up to being more like Wesley Matthews than Morris Almond in terms of how many minutes he gets... though probably somewhere in between. He almost certainly won't be starting this season (barring injury or a huge step back by either Matthews or CJ), but he could see some action. And again, memories of Matt Harpring.

Pacers Digest

IF you had super athletic guys at spots all around him, superior individual defenders at key spots to play with him, then his skill set would fit in better.

This is in regards to how he fits with the Pacers, but I think it sums it up pretty well. I wouldn't say the guys around him are "superior individual defenders". AK's a good help defender, Millsap makes his presence felt, Deron is there at times and CJ can get steals here and there, but we're still missing the presence in the middle. I'd like to think Fesenko is that guy but 1- he's a FA and might not be back and 2- he can't keep his head in the game long enough to stay on the court.

Ball Don't Lie

Hayward, at this point, is a scorer and not a shooter, and scorers need the ball and space. He won't get that in Utah

Well, that's pretty d***ing. I think he will be given the ball at least a bit when the Jazz try to play Deron off-ball, but I think the Jazz are going to try to convert him into more of a shooter. Again, good or bad is up to you, but still.



Mike Dunleavy comes to mind. Dunleavy has quietly had an effective and productive career. ... Worst case scenario, he’s Adam Morrison.

Um. Yikes. Dunleavy isn't bad, but Morrison? That really hasn't turned out well (though he now has more rings than most of the Jazz players). Lets hope its not that bad.

WalterFootball (yeah, seriously)

Dorrell Wright. Wright is a lengthy, athletic wing player who is not very physical just like Hayward. The Bulldog sophomore needs to add some muscle and become more physical as well as improve his outside shooting, or he may be nothing more than a bench player like Wright.

Um... I'll pass. And I think calling Dorrell Wright a "bench player" might be an insult to most bench players.

Ball Don't Lie

(T)his could be an Austin Croshere situation. If Hayward is given chances, he could pull it off. If he's an afterthought in an offense, he could turn out like Croshere, would could have been better had he'd been given shots.

Oh man... Austin Croshere brings back memories of Rik Smits, and hack-Rik whatever it was the Lakers pulled out in the NBA Finals that one year. I don't know... Croshere was a big who could shoot from outside, Hayward seems like a guard that is too big for his own good.

Pacers Digest

Player comparisons for me on this one were easy:

Modern comparable: Luke Walton

Past comparable: Fred Roberts

I’d love for Hayward to end up being a superstar, and I hope he proves me wrong….but that is how I see it.

Now this is worrisome. Luke Walton? Does Walton even do anything but sit on the Lakers bench? The last thing we need is for the #9 pick to become a cheerleader on the bench... we already have Fesenko for that (assuming he's back).


More from DraftExpress

As the clear-cut first option for coach Brad Stevens last season, Hayward was defended more effectively than he was in his first season at Butler, and he took some shots that he may not have taken as a freshman. In 2009, nearly 75% of his catch-and-shoot jumpers were unguarded, according to Synergy Sports Technology. He saw less than half of such attempts go uncontested in 2010. His smooth mechanics and sound form speak to his ability to be a more effective player at the next level when he reverts back to being a complementary option. He’ll reap the benefits of playing next to quicker guards and having more space to operate out on the perimeter.

See, that makes sense now. It is worrisome that some defending him would cause such a drop, but I guess that makes sense. The Jazz can benefit from him being in open space it seems. Korver had quite a few opportunities like that; I'm sure that if Hayward moves around without the ball, he'll get the options as well.

Though he uses his length effectively, rebounds the ball well for a small forward, shows good intensity and understands positioning, Hayward’s lack of lateral quickness and physical strength will give NBA decision-makers pause when evaluating his defensive potential. If Hayward struggles to deny dribble penetration consistently, he could be limited to a much smaller role than he would if he emerged as even an adequate team defender.

Looking at Hayward’s defensive potential, it is important to note how much time he spent defending the four spot for the Bulldogs last season. Regardless of who he matched up with, Hayward was a fairly effective defender for two reasons: First and foremost, he never gave up on a play -- although some players were able to get a step on him off the dribble, Hayward consistently stayed with the play and rarely gave his man a free pass to the rim. Second, he doesn’t overcommit, and seems to understand the limitations of the player he’s defending. While neither of those tendencies will assure him success in the NBA, they certainly won’t hurt his transition.

Again, it comes down to defense... which you know Sloan will be all over. If he can't deny the dribble penetration, especially with the guys we have inside, there could be a lot of trouble... and Hayward could be seeing a lot of the bench (or the NBDL). On the other hand, the fact he doesn't give up and doesn't overcommit should help him... the Jazz occasionally seem to struggle with such things. Obviously he'll have to get to the point where he can stop guys... not giving up isn't enough if the guy is still getting 2 points every game... but at the beginning it should be enough to get him some playing time. And after that, you know how Sloan is... if he earns the time, he'll get it.

How does Hayward explain the low mark?

Asked why he shot so poorly last season, he replied:

"I think a lot of it was just confidence. My attempts were down. I tried to do other things. I started aiming it instead of shooting it. Historically, I've always been a shooter."

I think, with the Jazz at least, he'll be able to be a "shooter," so hopefully that can bring things back up to not-so-bad levels.

So, it seems like he might fit what the Jazz want. He was a slight reach, but can help take Deron off-ball a bit. He'll bring "shooting" and a Harpring-like intensity (but with knees). He's not a PF with a PG-style game, he's a PG in a PF-style body. And he seems to be a solid shooter from 16 feet in, which is great. I wonder if he can get the free-throw line curl-and-shoot that Harpring was so good at? If he is able to focus on just his outside shooting, maybe he can go back up closer to 44%? His assist to turnover ratio last year was below 1, which is kinda scary, but that could be because he was the lead guy for Butler. On the other hand, he averaged almost a block a game, automatically making him the best big (behind AK) on the team. (Just ignore that he's not "big" in the sense that bigs are "big".)

As for the cons... he's going to need some help defense around him, especially in isolation? Interesting. Not sure what the Jazz will do there. And then there are the questions about his shooting. The 14% drop because he was being well defended? When we're going to be asking him to shoot jump shots, it'd be nice if they... you know, went in. Maybe not being the primary option will help cut down on the shots he takes that miss (because he can pass to other guys that'll shoot, and because he'll find himself open more often), which will raise that percentage. On the plus side, maybe he won't seem to scared to shoot late in important games, like Korver appeared to be at times (the Lakers series the first year we had him, then to end last season.

I'm not going to come out and blindly support the pick (though I will blindly support Hayward as long as he is on the Jazz, at the least). I'm also going to cut back on the hate for the pick (though, as I explained... I don't hate the player, just the hole we tried to fill)... we'll see what happens. I'm not predicting him to be a Korver-like shooter off the bat (especially not like Korver of last year, who set a record for 3PT%) and I'm not predicting he gets under the skin of defenders (not literally, because that would be disgusting) like Harpring did. But if he can come in, play the team game and help the team win, maybe it'll all work out for the best. ... Now to find that big-man we need in the middle. (Unrelated, reading up on him... anyone get like visions of a mini-Okur?)

I might as well admit... my thoughts have changed on the pick. Last night, I would've given the pick a D. This morning, after reading up on him, I'd give it a B+. It doesn't fill our biggest hole, but maybe it'll fill a hole that could show up this off-season (depending on Korver).