Once Utah Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward hit free agency, several teams showed interest and the Charlotte Hornets signed him to a four-year, $63 million deal. The Jazz chose to match the offer and potentially make Hayward the leader of their young core.
Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders believes Hayward could be in for a big year with the Jazz playing at an increased pace.
To Hayward’s credit, he was adjusting to his role as the number-one option on the team and the focus of opposing teams’ defensive schemes. With young talent like Trey Burke, and Dante Exum now in Utah, there is a chance that Hayward will have less attention on him, and the opportunity to bring his shooting percentages back up next season. With Quin Snyder now coaching the team, the Jazz are more likely to increase the pace from last season, and spread the court more. With more possessions per game and more room to operate, it’s quite possible that Hayward will have a big season.
Last season, Hayward averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game for the Jazz last season. He shot 41.3% from the field, 30.4% from beyond the arc and 81.6% from the free throw line. In his four-year NBA career, the former Butler Bulldog, who was the ninth-overall pick int he first round of the 2010 draft, has gone for 12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 0.9 steals per game while shooting 43.6% from the floor, 36.5% from thtree and 81.3% from the foul line.
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