This past summer, the Utah Jazz matched Gordon Hayward’s 4 year, $63M offer sheet with the Charlotte Hornets, keeping him in Salt Lake City. While there was some speculation at the time about whether or not that was a good decision, there is little speculation now. Gordon Hayward is playing up to his contract in every way the Utah Jazz could have hoped, averaging 19.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He has fully embraced the role of being a star and is always more than willing to close games when given the opportunity.
In a recent game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Hayward put the Timberwolves to sleep by scoring six points in the final two minutes with two of those points coming off of a steal. In that instance Gordon Hayward demonstrated why he is worth all the money by making a clutch play on defense as well as on offense.
Standing at 6’8 and 207 lbs., Hayward has the quickness and hand-eye coordination of an elite tennis player, which is why he is such a threat on offense as well as defense. Due to his combination of size, speed, and skill there really isn’t anything he can’t do. He can shoot, pass, rebound, steal, and block shots, and the scary thing is he’s only going to get better and more confident.
There are still questions about what the Jazz have in the rest of their talented young players, but there is little question now of as to what they have in Gordon Hayward. He’s transforming into a legitimate all-star right before our eyes and is the first sure piece the Utah Jazz have to build around for the coming seasons. Hopefully they can get the right pieces around him to keep him in a Jazz uniform for life.
—Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord