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The Apotheosis of Utah Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward

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From a floppy haired rookie to the beast we see today.

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers
“Like this, Alec?” “Ye.”
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Honestly? The Utah Jazz are a deep team that could find themselves in a deep playoff run if they get some health and help along the way. Obviously, Dennis Lindsey and Quin Snyder have an off-court / on-court strategy that favors length, versatility, and defense. And as a result the poster boy for that revolution has to be All-Star snub Rudy Gobert. Gobert is the best defensive player on the team that is the best defensive team in the league (1st in Opponents PPG, 3rd in DRTG). And using algebra and non-big market bias, he should be the Defensive Player of the Year. He’s the anchor who everything revolves around on that end of the court, and he’s an improving force on offense. But he’s not “The Man” for the Jazz. In fact, it’s Gordon Hayward who is. And it’s G-Time’s time in the Sun right now. And he’s never shone brighter.

Hayward, in his seventh season in the NBA -- and fourth as the first option — is an NBA All-Star this year. And the qualitative way to distinguish Hayward and Gobert could be that “Gobert will help you win a game, but right now Hayward will not let this team lose a game.” It’s been a criticism of Gordon that I’ve had for a while, when in direction comparison to other first options / other ‘star players’. Being able to elevate ones game to the point where victories are willed (despite all the other obstacles) is a rare talent.

And Gordon Hayward is ascending to this level right before our eyes.

Quantitatively is he “for real,” this year.

Just look at this!

Basketball-Reference.com, AllThatAmar

Sure, he’s not blocking shots or stealing the ball as frequently anymore (per game) but that’s not to say he isn’t effective as a defender. But it’s really his offensive game that is finally taking it to that next level. For a point of very direct comparison, Al Jefferson was the previous “first option” for the Jazz and averaqed 18.6, 19.2, and 17.8 ppg over the three seasons he played “Conqueror Ball”. (We miss you, YuccaMan!)

Here’s G-Time against the other small forwards in the NBA right now.

Gordon Hayward improvement.csv

Small Forward MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BLK PRASB /Min ORTG DRTG PER BOX+/- USG% TRB% AST% STL% BLK%
Small Forward MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BLK PRASB /Min ORTG DRTG PER BOX+/- USG% TRB% AST% STL% BLK%
Kawhi Leonard 33.4 25.3 5.8 3.3 1.8 0.8 37.0 1.108 122 102 27.8 7.6 30.5% 10.0% 17.2% 2.7% 1.9%
Kevin Durant 34.5 25.8 8.4 4.8 1.1 1.7 41.8 1.212 125 101 27.4 7.9 27.5% 13.3% 22.0% 1.5% 3.9%
Giannis Antetokounmpo 35.2 23.2 8.7 5.5 1.7 2.0 41.1 1.168 117 104 26.7 8.4 28.3% 14.1% 26.8% 2.5% 5.0%
LeBron James 37.5 25.8 8.0 8.6 1.4 0.5 44.3 1.181 117 106 26.1 8.1 29.7% 11.6% 41.0% 1.9% 1.1%
Jimmy Butler 36.6 24.6 6.5 4.8 1.8 0.3 38.0 1.039 123 106 25.6 6.6 27.1% 9.5% 22.2% 2.5% 0.6%
Gordon Hayward 34.8 22.0 5.7 3.5 1.0 0.3 32.5 0.934 119 105 22.7 4.7 27.4% 9.5% 18.1% 1.5% 0.7%
Paul George 35.6 22.6 6.1 3.3 1.7 0.3 34.0 0.955 108 107 19.3 2.0 27.9% 9.6% 15.6% 2.3% 0.8%
Carmelo Anthony 33.7 22.9 6.1 2.9 0.8 0.4 33.1 0.982 110 112 18.9 -0.2 29.6% 9.6% 15.0% 1.2% 1.0%
Rudy Gay 33.8 18.7 6.3 2.7 1.5 0.9 30.1 0.891 106 109 18.1 0.7 25.7% 10.9% 14.2% 2.3% 2.4%
Harrison Barnes 35.8 20.2 5.4 1.5 0.9 0.2 28.2 0.788 107 111 17.8 -1.4 26.4% 8.8% 8.1% 1.3% 0.6%
Otto Porter 33.7 14.2 6.6 1.6 1.5 0.6 24.5 0.727 128 106 17.7 4.1 15.3% 11.0% 6.9% 2.2% 1.5%
Tobias Harris 32.2 16.5 5.1 1.7 0.7 0.5 24.5 0.761 111 109 16.5 0.6 21.8% 8.8% 8.4% 1.0% 1.3%
Danilo Gallinari 34.2 17.2 4.9 2.2 0.7 0.3 25.3 0.740 123 115 16.0 0.3 19.3% 8.0% 9.5% 0.9% 0.6%
Jae Crowder 32.5 14.2 5.4 2.2 1.1 0.3 23.2 0.714 123 109 16.0 2.3 16.6% 9.3% 10.2% 1.6% 0.9%
Nicolas Batum 34.5 14.8 7.2 6.0 1.0 0.4 29.4 0.852 105 107 15.6 1.8 21.4% 11.3% 27.5% 1.5% 0.9%
Andrew Wiggins 37.2 22.1 4.1 2.5 0.8 0.4 29.9 0.804 105 114 15.3 -3.0 27.7% 6.4% 11.4% 1.1% 0.9%
Wilson Chandler 30.4 15.5 6.7 2.1 0.8 0.4 25.5 0.839 108 113 15.1 -1.0 22.6% 12.2% 10.7% 1.3% 1.0%
Nick Young 26.7 13.8 2.3 1.0 0.6 0.3 18.0 0.674 112 116 15.1 0.1 19.2% 4.6% 6.1% 1.1% 0.9%
Terrence Ross 22.6 10.5 2.6 0.8 1.0 0.4 15.3 0.677 113 109 15.0 0.0 19.6% 6.4% 5.4% 2.2% 1.5%
C.J. Miles 22.8 10.6 3.0 0.6 0.6 0.4 15.2 0.667 113 109 14.0 -0.6 18.7% 7.3% 4.3% 1.3% 1.6%
Sam Dekker 19.6 7.3 4.0 1.1 0.6 0.3 13.3 0.679 104 109 13.8 -0.6 16.0% 11.3% 8.0% 1.5% 1.3%
Shabazz Muhammad 19.6 9.0 3.0 0.4 0.3 0.1 12.8 0.653 114 115 13.6 -4.3 19.5% 8.7% 3.2% 0.7% 0.4%
T.J. Warren 29.3 13.1 3.9 1.0 1.2 0.3 19.5 0.666 108 114 13.5 -2.0 20.0% 7.4% 5.5% 1.9% 0.9%
Bojan Bogdanovic 26.7 14.1 3.4 1.6 0.4 0.1 19.6 0.734 106 115 13.2 -3.0 22.3% 6.7% 10.1% 0.8% 0.2%
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 29.5 9.1 7.4 1.3 0.8 1.0 19.6 0.664 109 106 13.1 -0.5 14.7% 13.5% 6.7% 1.3% 2.9%
Maurice Harkless 29.2 10.7 4.6 1.0 1.1 0.9 18.3 0.627 108 111 12.8 -0.2 16.2% 8.7% 5.3% 1.9% 2.4%
Trevor Ariza 34.5 11.7 5.5 2.2 1.9 0.2 21.5 0.623 113 107 12.7 2.0 14.3% 8.8% 8.9% 2.7% 0.6%
Joe Ingles 21.2 6.3 2.7 2.3 1.1 0.1 12.5 0.590 114 103 12.7 2.8 13.7% 7.3% 16.7% 2.7% 0.3%
Aaron Gordon 27.7 11.3 4.6 1.9 0.7 0.4 18.9 0.682 103 111 12.6 -1.4 19.7% 9.1% 10.8% 1.3% 1.2%
Thabo Sefolosha 25.8 7.6 4.3 1.6 1.7 0.5 15.7 0.609 106 103 12.6 1.4 13.6% 9.2% 8.9% 0.3% 0.2%
DeMarre Carroll 26.5 9.5 3.8 0.9 1.2 0.4 15.8 0.596 110 109 12.3 0.5 16.1% 8.0% 4.6% 2.3% 1.3%
Andre Iguodala 25.8 6.0 3.9 3.4 0.9 0.3 14.5 0.562 124 106 12.2 2.2 9.9% 8.4% 16.2% 1.7% 1.1%
Vince Carter 24.2 8.2 3.2 1.8 0.8 0.5 14.5 0.599 114 107 12.2 1.2 15.3% 7.5% 11.9% 1.8% 1.8%
Joe Johnson 22.4 8.4 3.0 1.6 0.3 0.2 13.5 0.603 107 107 12.2 -0.7 18.1% 7.8% 12.1% 0.8% 0.7%
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 21.6 7.9 4.9 2.0 1.0 0.5 16.3 0.755 98 109 11.9 -2.4 18.4% 12.0% 14.0% 2.1% 1.7%
Doug McDermott 24.7 10.1 3.2 1.1 0.3 0.1 14.8 0.599 112 111 11.6 -2.7 17.2% 6.8% 7.0% 0.5% 0.3%
Robert Covington 30.9 11.3 6.1 1.6 1.8 0.9 21.7 0.702 96 105 11.5 0.8 18.4% 10.9% 8.2% 2.8% 2.4%
Omri Casspi 18.0 5.9 4.1 1.2 0.5 0.0 11.7 0.650 103 112 11.5 -3.7 16.3% 13.2% 10.3% 1.3% 0.2%
Kent Bazemore 27.4 11.0 3.1 2.6 1.3 0.6 18.6 0.679 97 106 11.3 -1.1 20.5% 6.3% 14.7% 2.3% 1.9%
James Ennis 25.7 7.8 4.4 1.1 0.8 0.3 14.4 0.560 115 107 11.3 0.6 13.5% 9.7% 6.5% 1.6% 1.2%
Luol Deng 27.3 8.1 5.6 1.4 0.9 0.4 16.4 0.601 102 112 10.8 -1.9 14.5% 11.1% 7.6% 1.6% 1.1%
Jeff Green 23.3 9.5 3.0 1.2 0.5 0.2 14.4 0.618 98 112 10.3 -4.3 20.2% 7.2% 7.9% 1.1% 0.7%
Glenn Robinson III 22.2 6.1 3.8 0.7 0.5 0.3 11.4 0.514 106 110 10.0 -2.1 12.8% 9.5% 4.5% 1.2% 1.3%
Chandler Parsons 18.8 6.7 2.1 1.5 0.6 0.1 11.0 0.585 99 108 9.8 -3.5 18.8% 6.4% 12.7% 1.7% 0.4%
Al-Farouq Aminu 28.7 7.5 7.1 2.1 1.0 0.7 18.4 0.641 93 109 9.7 -1.7 14.9% 13.7% 10.4% 1.8% 1.9%
Jerami Grant 21.0 6.0 2.6 0.5 0.4 1.1 10.6 0.505 109 108 9.6 -2.7 12.1% 6.9% 3.4% 1.0% 4.0%
Kelly Oubre Jr. 20.5 6.5 3.4 0.7 0.7 0.2 11.5 0.561 107 108 9.5 -1.8 14.4% 9.3% 4.4% 1.8% 0.8%
Mike Dunleavy Jr. 16.7 5.4 2.3 1.0 0.3 0.1 9.1 0.545 109 110 9.4 -2.2 14.2% 7.5% 8.4% 0.9% 0.5%
Matt Barnes 24.7 7.1 5.1 2.6 0.6 0.3 15.7 0.636 97 111 9.2 -1.9 16.4% 12.1% 16.0% 1.3% 1.1%
Andre Roberson 30.5 6.6 4.9 1.0 1.2 1.0 14.7 0.482 104 106 8.9 -0.6 10.3% 9.0% 4.6% 1.9% 2.5%
Dante Cunningham 24.6 5.9 4.1 0.6 0.5 0.5 11.6 0.472 105 109 8.7 -1.6 10.9% 8.7% 3.7% 1.0% 1.7%
Justise Winslow 34.7 10.9 5.2 3.7 1.5 0.3 21.6 0.622 87 107 8.2 -2.8 20.0% 8.2% 15.9% 2.2% 0.8%
Solomon Hill 27.9 6.3 3.8 1.7 0.9 0.4 13.1 0.470 101 109 7.9 -0.8 11.0% 7.0% 8.5% 1.5% 1.3%
Troy Williams 17.4 5.3 1.8 0.8 1.0 0.4 9.3 0.534 86 105 7.8 -2.9 17.4% 6.0% 7.3% 3.0% 2.1%
Richard Jefferson 19.9 5.3 2.4 0.9 0.3 0.1 9.0 0.452 105 112 7.0 -2.8 12.3% 6.4% 6.4% 0.7% 0.4%
Basketball-Reference.com, AllThatAmar

He’s good. Those numbers aren’t monkey-ed around with for pace, etc. G-Time is real. And he’s never been better.