25 June 2010

Gordon Hayward

Well, I didn't see that coming.

After spending most of the year wondering about who the Jazz would take in the 2010 NBA Draft with the Knicks pick they got a few years ago, the expectations went from "Hey, Utah could get Evan Turner or Derrick Favors!" to "Hmm, maybe they can get Greg Monroe," to "Uh, Cole Aldrich?"

Readers of this blog know I fervently believe the most glaring weakness on this Jazz team is lack of interior defense. This has been a major problem in the playoffs for the last three years, and so far Jazz management have been unable to solve the problem.

Despite the lack of home-run big men available to Kevin O'Connor at the ninth pick last night, I had hoped the Jazz would at least take a stab at Aldrich or Ed Davis in an attempt to give the team what they need.

So what happens? Utah takes Gordon Hayward.

My honest reaction was, "Who?"

Here's who: Hayward is a 6'7" small forward from Butler. He shot 29% from the 3-point line and made 46% of his field goals last season. He averaged less than one assist per game.

You may remember him as the guy who missed the last-second fadeaway baseline jumper against Duke in the NCAA title game.

I am displeased. After watching a few highlight clips of this kid, his dribbling is terrible, he can't jump and he can't defend.

So to sum up:

1. The Jazz gave Ronnie Brewer away for nothing last season because they had too many players at the shooting guard/small forward spots.

2. Then they draft Hayward, who is essentially Brewer, complete with poor shooting numbers (30% from deep last season at Butler), but without the impressive defense or ability to get to/finish at the rim.

3. In the draft, you either pick based on need or take the best player available. Hayward is neither.

4. I'd much rather have seen Utah take Davis or Aldrich (even if he measures small) or even Patrick Patterson.

5. But even if the Jazz absolutely coveted a small forward, Kansas' Xavier Henry is a superior pick to Hayward.

6. Does this mean the Jazz now feel that Fesenko and Kosta are the answers to their interior defensive weakness? Because last time I checked, the answer was a resounding NO.

Bad news all around.

However, I'm waiting until free agency is over before getting too upset. All that matters is that the Jazz acquire someone who can shore up the defense under the hoop. If they end up trading Hayward and another player to get that done, this draft was a success.

The only problem is that I can't imagine there's a team out there salivating over the possibility of getting Hayward.

Boy, what a pick.


Collin said...

On the other hand, their second round pick seemed pretty good (for a 55th pick). http://www.ksl.com/index.php?sid=11309621&nid=304

Brandon said...

Seems a lot like Paul Millsap.... except we know Millsap can play at this level. We'll see about Evans.

Matty Gibb said...

I'm not happy either but Aldrich just reminds me of what happened the last time Utah spent a first-round pick on a big white center from Kansas.

Brandon said...

Yeah, they made it to the NBA Finals. Twice. :)

I'd love to have Ostertag on this team. No need for him to score, just block a couple shots per game and alter countless others. Ostertag taking plays off is 1000% better than Okur and Boozer taking every play off on defense.

Seth said...

Brandon- Can't Fesenko do that? Clog up the lane and alter shots? He can't score worth crap or even run an offense, but he alters shots because he's bigger.

Gordon Hayward- I can kind of see him as a Larry Bird-esque player if he works hard enough. A taller forward that can dribble, great court awareness and passing, and a pretty reliable shot. I mean, Hayward shot 40% from the 3 line his freshman year.

Matty Gibb said...

Echoing Seth. No reason why Fes wouldn't be just as good as Ostertag at sitting in the lane and fumbling passes/rebounds. You seem to be selectively remembering who was on that team...plug in any wooden-handed ground-bound slow-reacting 7-footer and they still get there, still lose. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I guess.

Brandon said...

@Seth: Absolutely I think Fes can do it. His problem is staying in the game... he fouls way way too much.

And Hayward averaged less than one assist per game last season. He has great passing skills?

@Gibb: I'm not saying Ostertag was all-world. I'm saying he was worlds better on defense than the Boozer/Okur combo.

Brandon said...

Also, Larry Bird averaged 30 points and 11 rebounds per game, with 4 assists as a sophomore in college. Hayward is nowhere near his level.

Matty Gibb said...

We definitely agree on the essential point. Hayward is going to really have to show me something in order to convince me that this was a decent pick. I mean, Jazz fans have been looking forward to this pick for years. I have, and I'm not even a diehard.

Josh said...

However, Bird played in the 70s when defense was standing up straight and watching the ball