Utah Jazz: Will Gordon Hayward reach All-Star Status?


Utah Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward has the potential to be an All-Star some day. Photo Credit: RMtip21, Flickr.com

The Utah Jazz have a young squad with plenty of upside. They also could lose two of their star players.

Center Al Jefferson and power forward Paul Millsap could be gone after this season and head elsewhere. Both are unrestricted free agents. It seems unlikely that both will remain with the Jazz. Someone needs to step up if the event they leave for greener pastures.

Can Gordon Hayward be that player? Will the swingman from Butler reach All-Star Status?

Hayward entered the NBA as the ninth pick in the 2010 draft. Since then, Hayward has raised his season totals each year. He started at 5.4 points per game in his first year. Hayward currently averages 14.1 points per game. If Hayward holds his total, he could triple his amount from his rookie season.

Hayward is also being more consistent from the 3-point line. He has made 57 so far this year, shooting 39.6 percent. It’s not many, but he already surpassed last season’s total of 55.

Hayward is also a high-percentage free-throw shooter. He shoots 83.2 percent from the foul line. It’s clear Hayward is a shooter, but he does come with issues.

Hayward missed 10 games with a strained shoulder. The Jazz needs to monitor the situation if Hayward suffers a setback. It has paid off, as Hayward scored 17 against the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 19 and 23 against the Los Angeles Clippers Feb. 23.

As Dwight Howard could attest, shoulder injuries are no joke. A possible setback could cost Hayward and the Jazz if the strain is worse than they thought.

Another problem lies in Hayward’s style. He’s mainly a shooter and not known for his defense. That could be problematic, considering Hayward faces the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant more than most. Since both teams are in the Northwest Division, Hayward needs to improve on his defense. That’s a tall order, especially against guys like Durant.

Gordon Hayward can reach All-Star status if he can improve every aspect of his game. Otherwise, he could be a disappointing pick for the Jazz franchise.