Gordon Hayward has convinced the rest of the NBA that he is an excellent professional basketball player. He’s proven that in his first three seasons with the Utah Jazz, but the franchise will expect him to prove even more in his fourth season. Last year, he averaged 14.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. That was a boost from his career totals of 10.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
The 6-foot-8 forward has progressed nicely in his career average, coming in as a rookie for the 2011-12 campaign and averaging 16.9 minutes, 5.4 points and 1.1 assists per game. He had a fabulous NCAA tournament run with Butler before losing to Duke in the title game.
But after Hayward had a mediocre rookie season, he showed incredible improvement by next season with 30.4 minutes, 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. His shooting percentages from the floor and 3-point area fell off slightly last year, and the Jazz will need Hayward to have a consistent shooting touch this season.
He can take the ball to the basket, but plenty will be expected of Hayward now that various veteran players like Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap aren’t on the roster. He’s a young NBA star, but he’ll need to be a team leader, something that the Jazz figure will be a natural for Hayward. He’s expected to be a more mature player. He also plans on helping the team out by being a faster player.
Hayward will have a major impact on the Jazz. It wouldn’t hurt if he would be able to improve his rebounding a few notches and be a strong force on the boards.
The extent to which he’s able to contribute to the team will dictate how much success the Jazz will enjoy.