Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward continues to grow as a player in his third season

Published: Monday, Oct. 8 2012 11:48 p.m. MDT

Part of that progression, Corbin added, is to learn how to bounce back from setbacks — whether it's a missed shot, a postseason slump or running the wrong play and getting a fastball thrown at him by a teammate.

That's something Hayward will have to keep in mind after opening Monday's game by going 1-for-6.

He's come too far, too quickly, for one rough half or outing to change how the Jazz think about him, though.

Marvin Williams followed Hayward's career at Butler, but he's really become impressed with his new teammate since playing with him for the past month, even before the Jazz started camp.

"He's very talented. To be as tall as he his, I think he can do a lot of things," said Williams, a fellow Jazz wing. "He can shoot the ball. He can handle it. He can definitely defend a couple of positions, which is always good. He's got the ability to do a lot of different things on the floor, so it really helps your team when you have a player like that."

NBA seasoning combined with talent will do that for young guys who work hard.

"When I first met him he was a young boy, now he's a man," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "He's coming into his own. I think he understands that. The experience do that for you when you've been around two, three years, you're starting to understand the game."

Hayward admitted that is the case.

"I think (I'm) just more comfortable out there, more experience," he said.

Corbin believes the more Hayward realizes he has a green light to attack the basket when the Jazz get him the ball — an aggressive attitude he started adopting last year — the better off the up-and-comer and his team will be.

The Jazz need him to use his size advantage, which is especially evident when he plays shooting guard — a plausibility for much of this season with the addition of Williams, a 6-foot-9 small forward.

Hayward's athletic ability makes him dangerous on both ends as well.

He doesn't think of himself as a shooter, per se, but he also has the ability to light it up outside when he shoots in rhythm and with confidence.

"The focus for him in the summer was to continue to grow his body and his game. One of the areas he really focused on was his shooting and shooting with confidence," Corbin explained. "If he missed one (and) it's a good shot, it's just a lucky miss — just continue to take the right shots."

It's been fun for Jefferson to watch the progress of a teammate who's grown before his eyes.

"Gordon is getting better every year," Big Al said. "He's attacking the basket even better than he did last year, even still more explosive and active on the defensive end. He's just getting better and better each year."

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com, TWITTER: DJJazzyJody

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