Utah Jazz might surprise and pick Butler star Gordon Hayward

Published: Tuesday, May 25 2010 2:07 p.m. MDT

Gordon Hayward of Butler at a press conference prior to playing Kansas State on Saturday in the 2010 NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, March, 26, 2010. Mike Terry, Deseret News

Mike Terry, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Practically every mock draft has projected that the Utah Jazz will opt to go with a power forward with the ninth pick in the 2010 NBA Draft in June.

Still, a report on Tuesday morning suggests the Jazz could instead look at adding another wing player.

An NBA draft expert, David Thorpe, suggested Utah could select former Butler star Gordon Hayward in a Sporting News column on Tuesday.

It would be a surprising move if such a selection occurred. Mock drafts at Draft Express and Hoops Hype both projected Hayward to be taken at 18th by the Miami Heat. Both sites also projected that the Jazz would select Georgetown center Greg Monroe with the ninth pick.

Thorpe said Hayward looked impressive in the NBA draft combine at Chicago and could conceivably move up the draft ladder to the 10-15 range by draft day.

"He looked fantastic in just the smoothness of his athleticism, his size," Thorpe told the Sporting News. "He's still not shooting well, but they think that'll come around. People think he's just kind of in a slump and maybe he'll fix that."

Fans in the Beehive State need no introduction to the 6-foot-8 Hayward.

He helped Butler win the NCAA West Regional in Salt Lake City in March, and the Bulldogs went on to reach the NCAA championship game. His outside shot does raise concerns if the Jazz are looking at Hayward.

As a sophomore, Hayward averaged 15.5 points and shot 46.4 percent from the field, but he shot only 29.4 percent from 3-point range. Monroe, who is a 6-foot-11 power forward, averaged comparable numbers with 16.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Georgetown.

Many sites have projected the Jazz taking Monroe in the first round to fill a potential void in the frontcourt behind Paul Millsap if free-agent forward Carlos Boozer chooses to sign with another NBA team this summer.

North Carolina power forward Ed Davis has also been another option the Jazz are rumored to be looking at in the upcoming draft.

e-mail: jcoon@desnews.com

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