Our Utah Jazz have deservedly received a lot of hype this offseason. Many of the national pundits have projected the Jazz to get to the playoffs. A fairly common theme I’ve seen among articles/comments about the Jazz is that Gordon Hayward is playing at or near an All-Star level. It made me wonder how close he really is to giving us our first All-Star appearance since Deron Williams in the 2010-2011 season.
Let’s look at comparable players, statistically speaking, from the last few years. The parameters of my player search were as follows: >19 points, >4 rebounds, >3 assists, and >1 steal on a per game basis. I also added playing in at least 62 games in the season. Why 62 you ask? Because that is playing in at least 75% of the games that season. I have always believed that one of the very best capabilities is availability, and Hayward has maintained great health thus far in his career (You better knock on wood! Hurry before we have a season like last year again!!! *Knock knock knock* whew okay moving on— Update: Wow I apologize everyone. I wrote this previous to Hayward’s injury. I’ll escort myself out... *walks away sobbing*).
I ran these statistics for the last 5 NBA seasons. I’ve also included whether or not this player was an All-Star, and what his team’s pre-All-Star break record and conference rank was that season. Here’s what we came up with:
*Because Kobe deserved it more
My theory was that All-Star selections are very much tied to team success, which is why I included record and rank along with the individuals achieving my benchmarks. I wanted to see how my theory played out. Turns out the average (pre All-Break) win % of an All-Star with similar statistics as Hayward from the past 5 years was .64—that pace would be about 52-30 over a complete season. Their average conference seed was in between 4th and 5th (4.3 to be exact).
What does all this mean?
Count me among those projecting Hayward to make his first (of hopefully several) All-Star appearance. And it won’t be because he is playing much better than he has. His statistics say that he is playing at an All-Star level already. Now he’ll have the team success to get him to the biggest game that doesn’t really matter.
I believe that if the Jazz are above the 6th seed in the west, or have a record better than 35-22 come All-Star break, then Hayward’s transition will be near complete.
Transformation Tuesday: Gordon’s arms pic.twitter.com/JMgk7zbVxW— Angie Treasure (@snark_tank) September 29, 2015