Gordon Hayward - Scintillating Scorer 16/17 Part 2
Gordon Hayward. NBA All-Star. Along with Defensive Player of the Year finalist (and deserved all-star) Rudy Gobert, they led the Utah Jazz to the 4th best league in the rugged Western Conference (they tied with the LA Clippers at 51-31, but lost the tie breaker to them which is why they were the 5th seed). Hayward averaged a career best 21.9 points per game (shooting 85% from the foul line) for the Utah Jazz, which averaged only 100.7 points per game (28th best, playing with at lowest pace in the league). That’s 1/5 of all their scoring*, and just a shade behind guys like Carmelo Anthony, Kyle Lowry, Devin Booker, and Klay Thompson. Throw in the fact that he was essentially their primary ball handler, and their late clock creator, and you have the makings of a true and true star.
Gordon has a fundamental foundation and his footwork is FANTASTIC. He’s got the capacity to create something out of nothing with his craftiness. I'm not saying he's got that Kemba Walker handle, but he will always carve out elbow room. He can explode off of either foot for a finish, or separate just enough to get his smooth shot off. He throws a defenders timing off with either the sidestep, the bump, a pump, or a slight hesitation. He’s got a very sneaky bag of tricks. Add to that the fact that his frame is ever expanding, which helps him muscle his way to easy points. Hayward got to the foul line A LOT last season. 5.9 times a game to be exact, totalling to 429 attempts at the stripe. That’s more than Hack-A-Shaq mainstay DeAndre Jordan, more than fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, and Chris Paul. He’s not the most crazy explosive guy, but when he does go off, boy, is he a PROBLEM. You want him to postup? He’s already powering through mismatches. You need him to get you a bucket in the playoffs against the DPOY? Stepback or Rev Pivot Fallaway. Andre Iguodala or Chris Paul is draped all over him? He’ll figure it out. Honestly, I just really enjoy watching this guy play and CANNOT WAIT to see what he will do with Brad Stevens, Kyrie Irving, and Al Horford in Boston.
*For comparison’s sake, Giannis Antetonkoumpo averaged 22.9 points per game for Milwaukee, who finished bottom 5 in pace, and generated 103.6 points per game (22.1% of their total scoring). Kawhi Leonard averaged 25.5 ppg for the Spurs, which played at the 4th slowest pace in the league, but generated 105.3 points per game (24.3% of their total scoring).
Description from September 2017.