With NBA free agency in full swing #LEAGUESOURCES are at it again, this time claiming that the Miami Heat are the current front runner in the race for Gordon Hayward. While the Heat are one of just three teams Hayward has scheduled a meeting with during free agency it is a widely-held belief that they are not really in the same conversation as the Utah Jazz or even the Boston Celtics.
Three league sources sense the current favorite for Gordon Hayward is Miami. Reasons: better lifestyle, Spoelstra, "feature scoring role."— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 1, 2017
Ah but see, this time it isn’t just some ambiguous amount of league sources making this claim but rather three specific anonymous (but totally legitimate, right?) league sources. Everyone knows that three league sources > one league sources, thus this report holds way more weight than your everyday, run-of-the-mill free agency rumor. Continuing with the theme of threes, let’s take a quick look at the three reasons why Miami is the supposed favorite to land Hayward’s talents this offseason.
1. Better lifestyle
We could talk about Utah #nightlife ad nauseum but suffice it to say Miami has more to offer in the way of clubs, parties, and celebrities. Is that lifestyle better than the lifestyle in Utah? I’m not one to speak for Gordon Hayward but Miami might not be the lifestyle you’re looking for if you have a wife and two young children. The Haywards do enjoy taking pictures on the beach though.
Erik Spoelstra is a pretty good NBA coach. He’s got a couple of those infinitely coveted #ringzzzz. What he doesn’t have right now is an advantage over Quin Snyder or Brad Stevens. Snyder is the incumbent and helped Gordon Hayward become an NBA All-Star. Brad Stevens was Hayward’s college coach for a whopping 69 games over seven years ago. Spoelstra? Just a pretty good NBA coach.
3. “Feature scoring role”
I’m not even sure what to make of this one. “Feature scoring role”? Hayward has been Utah’s #1 scoring option for years. League sources doth protest:
For those asking, "Isn't Hayward a feature scorer in Utah?" No, 15.8 FGA is not featured. He's capable of much more. https://t.co/rky1j1QoiF— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 1, 2017
Let’s try to use all of our brainpower to remember that Utah plays at the slowest pace in the NBA. For those of you who don’t watch the Utah Jazz (see: above) a slower pace means fewer possessions. Fewer possessions means fewer shots, assists, rebounds, etc. A better example of a player’s role on offense might be usage rate. Hayward’s usage rate with the Jazz last season was 27.6%, identical to Kevin Durant’s usage rate with the Warriors. I don’t think anyone would say that Kevin Durant doesn’t get enough touches and the same goes for Hayward.
To summarize, take this rumor with a grain of salt. Actually, take it with three grains of salt. Three is much better.