As we just talked about two days ago, the Utah Jazz are winning a lot of games this year - and a huge part of it is Gordon Hayward. He has upped his scoring average every season he has been in the league, and that’s even more commendable because he has been the first option for the last five years in a row and the primary focus of every defense he faces.
Last night against the Portland Trail Blazers he dropped 30 points, the 12th such time this season that he did so.
I am proud of Gordon. And I love StatMuse. But I wanted to look at a larger sample size, that also included things like the NBA Playoffs. And let’s be real, if you are dropping 30 in the post season it should count. As a result, we find that Carlos Boozer had 15 in 2006-2007. But when I did look at every season over the last 30 years (because it’s 30 points, and 30x30 is fun) in Basketball-Reference.com I got the following data:
Yeah, when you look at the bigger picture of the last 30 seasons you see that everyone else is playing for second place. And even if you add everyone that’s not Karl Malone up against The Mailman their 217 is very far behind his 477.
Gordo is the tops of all small forwards, and thankfully this data set extends only to the last 30 seasons - any further than that and we’ll get to Adrian Dantley, who averaged 29.6 ppg in 461 regular season games in a Jazz jersey. (And 28.9 ppg in the playoffs, if we’re adding that; which we would.)
Hayward has reached 30 more times in the last three years than Al Jefferson did in his three years with the team as the primary scorer (22 to 18, with four games and a playoffs left to play). Also, the 15 games this year of a Jazzman dropping 30 is the largest since the 2010-2011 season (25).
But, man, the Jazz offense used to be such a terrible thing to face. Man, John Stockton really helped his guys get the ball in scoring position.
It’s a new game today where wings have to create more for themselves. And Hayward is the advantageous evolution of the game, in the physical form. He’s a great player, but clearly not a ball hog or a dude who’s going to drop 30 every night. (Unlike Malone or Dantley.)
Gotta recognize his hard work. And I’m happy to do so here.
Are there more 30 point games in Gordon’s future? Definitely.
Any more this season? Probably.