Re: What is the fascination with Gordon Hayward?
posted at 11/22/2013 2:55 PM EST
In response to BiggerThanMyBrady's comment:
Everyone seems to love him on here. I get the Steven's connection. If there's one coach in the NBA that could get a lot out of him it's going to be the Celtics young coach. But here are my problems.....
He doesn't play defense. At all, really. When you're a 6'8" two-guard you should be able to defend your position at least relatively well. You are not going to go up against guys that are taller than you, so what you lack in lateral and north-south quickness you need to make up for with your length. Instead of playing up into a shooters chest and take away his space (Avery Bradley) you need to back off a bit and use your length to your advantage. Use your reach to get a hand in the face of your defender to alter the shot.
His only real offensive weapon is his 3-point shoot from the right side (right-side baseline to a little past the top of the key). He's near the top of the league in that category, in terms of efficiency, per Goldsberry (who if you don't pay attention to you need to get with it). If you look at the rest of his shot chart (which you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXg56rY-v6E&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLQK6nu7nx46w8rf3b3hjEArcbZZ0-Ct2g - scroll to 5 minute mark) he's either average or below average from everywhere else on the floor. This year could be different because defenses have to game plan for him more than any other player on the Jazz, but that shot chart was taken last year when he had Big Al to dominate games. Big Al likes to sit on the left block, which vacates the right side of the floor.
I see a guy that could be a great complimentary player on a contender, but not a star. He's an average rebounder given his size, and has okay court vision. I think there are more guys coming out in this draft that could be a better fit for the Celtics. But I really would like to know why a lot of you prefer him. I'd much rather have Lance Stephenson.
Thanks for the feedback.
This is a well written post. I feel like I should answer because I have been the number 1 proponent of Gordon Hayward for the last many months.
You are absolutely correct. Right now, Hayward is not a Lebron James. He is not an indisputable #1 option and superstar like a Harden who can immediately lead a team into wins. He is an EXCELLENT 2nd option, especially on a Brad Stevens team. This is why:
1. He is absolutely dominant from that right side from the outside. This fits perfectly into Brad's whole philosophy of taking the 3 instead of the long mid-range 2 pointer. Having a player who can knock down 3s at a high rate and high percentage is crutial for spreading out the offense. I'm sure you can find other guys who fit that skill, but most are one dimentional. I think Hayward is multi-dimentional, partly beacuse ...
2. Hayward is active off the ball. Hayward may not move quite like Ray Allen did or Kevin Martin does, but he isn't a player that will take plays off. He moves around, in order to confuse and break down the defense. This also creates open looks for himself and others. He is able to be active effectively beacuse ...
3. He is an excellent passer and can create off the pass. He has great assist numbers for his position and uses good court vision and awareness to create open shots for his teammates. This is a staple of Brad Stevens offense and would create something special when paired with good passing bigs. The only question is whether Rondo will trust Hayward with controlling and passing the ball at time, and I think he will because...
4. He is a high BBIQ player. He is young, smart, works hard, knows how to win and has a strong BBIQ.
5. He is ambidexterous which is extremely valuable and is very good with his left hand. There are many in the NBA who secretly value and covet left handers because they can attack the weak side and again help with spacing.
Also, lets not consider Hayward in a bubble. Like I said, he's not Lebron. He is a very good player who could really excel in a system with the right teammates. I've always considered Hayward along with acquiring Lamarcu Aldridge. If you had an Aldridge, he would realistically be your number one option. The offense would run similarly to that in Utah with Al Jefferson, leveraging Aldridge's right side post game with Hayward on his strong shooting side, in the corner for the three. At this juncture, Aldridge is probably unattainable, but I am starting to think that Sullinger could fit that similar mold. Sully has numbers similar to Aldridge's freshman year and Sully hasn't yet played a full 82 games.
In my mind I could see Hayward fitting well on a team with Rondo, Bradley, Green Sulinger and Olynyk, especially if the Celtics could get a defensive center.
My common strategy/idea for this season is to trade Bass and Lee for Asik at some point. Dump Wallace and a future pick (Clippers?) for an expiring contract or use a stretch provision. Allow Humphries, Bogans and Brooks to walk.
Then, the Celitcs 2014 1st round pick would net us another strong SF (hopefully Parker, Wiggins) and the Brooklyn pick could bring another 3&D guard or a raw defensive Big. If all that were to occur, I could see a great 13 man roster next year of:
Rondo (9) / Crawford (4) / Pressey
Hayward (8) / Bradley (6) / 3&D (Nets pick)
Jabari Parker (4) / Jeff Green (9)
Sullinger (2) / Olynyk (2)
Asik (8.5) / Favarani (2) / Colton Iverson
Total Salary: 58M
I think this is achievable and I like every single player on this team. The only question is the strength of our pick this year. Parker is the ideal, but a good fallback option if we slide to a 6th pick would be to get another high potentail SG like Exum or Harrison and then use the Nets pick to draft Dario Saric at SF and then play Hayward at the 2 and the 3 along with Green and Bradley.
I like moving Avery to the bench. I never liked a rigid rotation. I think Brad Stevens can teach this group team defense and a strong team mentality. A 13 man roster like this above would allow for so many options. I would be interested in lineups that featured Rondo, Avery, Parker, Green and Sully. I'd also like that same lineup with Asik. I think against big teams like Indiana, the Celtics could big.