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Insider

Gordon Hayward's upside

1/27/2013

Gordon Monson of the St. Lake Tribune thinks that Utah Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward has what it takes to become an All-Star. He gave four specific reasons why.

"1) Hayward is getting more comfortable in his circumstances; 2) He’s more confident with his shot; 3) His all-around game is extensive; 4) He can play defense; and 5) The Jazz need him to play at that level," he noted.

As fantasy folks know, the trouble is that he hasn't made that leap from OK to excellent; to wit, he is averaging an enticing, yet mediocre, 14.5 ppg, 3.0 apg, 1.3 3-ppg and 44.5 FG% this month. Teammate Earl Watson thinks Hayward may be too unselfish.

"His basketball IQ is off the charts," Watson said. "Gordon’s almost too intelligent for the game at times. But he plays the right way. He’s never going to take an abundance of shots without getting his teammates involved."

"Gordon could score 25 points a game if he wanted, but he’s trying to win every possession for the team. I compare him to [Manu] Ginobili."

Another thing Gordon and Ginobili have in common is that they work as reserves. While it's possible that Gordon can take things to the next level in that role, if he is really going to make a legit run at an All-Star spot or become a really good fantasy option in the future, he is going to have to take on a larger role on offense. Specifically, for a guy who has knocked down about 46.5 percent of his 3-point attempts over the past two months, he needs to be taking more than 2.7 3-point attempts per game.

In a side note, Hayward sustained a Grade I sprain of his right shoulder Saturday, according to Jazz PR director Jonathan Rinehart. X-rays were negative, and he is considered to be day-to-day.