• Gordon Hayward - Second Impression

    Gordon HaywardJuly 11, 2010 -
    If you read my last post, you know how I felt about the Utah Jazz drafting Gordon Hayward. Since then, I had the chance to catch a few of Utah’s games during the Orlando Summer League this past week. While I still feel the Jazz made a mistake in the draft, I did at least come away somewhat more encouraged about Hayward.

    His stats weren’t exactly attention grabbing, but Hayward played solidly and efficiently. I definitely get the sense he will be a much better player when surrounded by other good players. He plays a team game that is not effectively showcased in the less-structured summer-league environment. To his credit, he didn’t resort to the selfish tactics displayed by some of his teammates and generally stayed within the offense. The unfortunate result is that he didn’t get nearly the amount of touches I would’ve hoped for from the 9th pick in the draft.

    Here is my general assessment of Hayward’s performance in the three games I watched:

    Positives

    • Poise and confidence – He played under control and didn’t seem intimidated (despite the fact that he looks like a boy among men)
    • Shooting – He definitely has a nice stroke, and he shot over 50% for the week
    • Basketball IQ – He seems to have a great understanding of the game and generally made smart, team-oriented plays
    • Ball Handling – He has a good handle for a 6’8” player and made a few nice moves with the ball

    Cons
    • Strength – He appeared physically outmatched at times
    • Athleticism – I’m not sure he will be able to get to the hoop against most NBA wings
    • Upside – Tough to judge this from a handful of summer league games, but I just don’t see this kid ever being more than a decent NBA role player

    Of the three games I watched, I was particularly interested in Utah’s matchup with Indiana. The Pacers had the 10th pick in the draft (immediately after the Jazz) and selected Paul George, the player I had hoped the Jazz would take. This was Hayward’s worst game of the summer league. He looked totally outmatched by George, who scored 15 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and looked every bit the part of a solid NBA prospect.

    As I said, I still believe Utah made a mistake drafting Gordon Hayward with the 9th pick. While my impression of Hayward has definitely improved, I’m afraid passing on Paul George will come back to haunt the Jazz.

    Gordon, PLEASE prove me wrong.

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