Editor’s note: Welcome to a new series called “Don’t Sleep.” This series is all about the players in the game that fans shouldn’t be sleeping on!
Honestly, by now, if you’re still sleeping on the 6’8″ forward out of Butler University that plays out in Utah, then you really need to listen up! Gordon Hayward isn’t just an awesome League of Legends player. He was the ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft and he’s only 25 years old, and in only his fifth season he posted averages of 19.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game.
Each season, Gordon Hayward has been improving on not only scoring, but he’s also improved on his defense, passing, rebounding, and as a result his efficiency rating has increased. Last season, Hayward had the highest rebound percentage with an 8.2% which is only 1.2% below LeBron James for comparison. He also dropped his turnover percentage down to 13.8% while increasing his usage percentage to 26.2. This was one of the more interesting stats to me. Hayward handled the ball more often while turning it over less than the season before. If you watched him play last season, he looked a lot more comfortable running the offense, and he was very successful with the drive and kick. Now with the news that Dante Exum could be out for the whole season, he may need to handle the ball even more.
There is another area that Hayward has improved upon and not many people have noticed or talked about it. He has been drawing more and more shooting fouls, and as a result has also been converting more and-ones. This was looked at as one of his weaknesses when he came into the league and a lot of experts thought the same when he was hitting the free agent market after the 2013-14 season.
Hayward has turned into a do-it-all kind of player and he’s starting to become the leader that the Utah Jazz really need. There one thing that Hayward does need to improve though. One of his weaknesses was always his ability to create offense for himself. Well, Hayward seems to be working on that this offseason:
If Hayward can really develop his post game and also his iso moves, and he continues the trend he’s been on, then he will become one of the best players in the league. So, don’t sleep on this man because he should be giving us some very special seasons coming up!