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In Gordon Hayward’s absence Rodney Hood needs to step up when the game counts most

That’s finishing strong, not just starting on fire

Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The top dog of this Utah Jazz team is Gordon Hayward. The All-Star snub last season was looking to power his team to the NBA Playoffs this season and perhaps also get some of the individual player recognition that has so far eluded the 2010 NBA Draft lottery pick over his professional career. Unfortunately for him, and the Utah Jazz, and the fans by extension, Hayward fractured his ring finger in his non-shooting hand during practice.

As a consequence G-Time is INJ-Time right now and the team is going to need someone to step up. The newly added veterans George Hill (20.0 ppg) and Joe Johnson (15.7 ppg) have filled in some of the gaps for sure. But in Quin Snyder’s wing oriented offense one player really needs to step up: Duke product Rodney Hood.

What has Hood, a full-time starter entering his third year in the league, done so far in the first three games? Well, he has shot the ball. But he has not uniformly shot the ball well.

Scoring! Kind of! AllThatAmar

So Rod has been hot in the first, and pretty solid in the third. This Utah Jazz team has a lot of trouble finishing games though. And it’s the second and fourth quarters where Hood is at his worst. Really. So is this a problem? It is if you know anything about rhythm and beats.

Watch this.

And then watch this.

Right now Hood is clapping on the one and the three, and the end result is the Jazz look good and then bad, and then okay, and then don’t finish games strong. If Hood is going to be up there in terms of being a reliable scorer (he’s still streaky AF) then he needs to be someone the Jazz can rely on every time he’s out there on the court.

As it stands after a whopping three games . . . he is not. It’s something Gordon Hayward worked on for years (he’s now in his seventh). If Gordon leaves Rodney’s responsibilities will only grow. (I didn’t even touch on the passing, but included the stats in the table.)

Small sample sizes aside, Rodney is going to be a big part of the Jazz wins this year. And he’s going to do it as a scorer. Hopefully one who is as deadly in the end of games as he is in the first quarter.