Brad Rock: What Gordon Hayward needs to do so Utah Jazz don't feel buyer's remorse
Few that critique the NBA are actually predicting he will be a superstar. He’s been in the league four years and though he has posted good numbers (16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 2014), he’s not storming walls and plundering villages. He’s a player to watch but not to fear.
In his fourth season, Kobe Bryant was averaging 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists. Bird averaged 23.6 points, 11 rebounds and 5.8 assists. Michael Jordan was 35, 5.5 and 5.9.
Though Hayward’s numbers are nothing to dismiss, all the aforementioned players had been All-Stars multiple times by their fourth season.
At a level down, Jason Kidd averaged 11.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 9.1 assists in his fourth season. Scottie Pippen was 17.8, 7.3 and 6.2. Below that, Shawn Marion was at 21.2, 9.5 and 2.4. They too had been All-Stars by their fourth year.
Some fear Hayward could become the next Andrei Kirilenko, the one-time Jazz All-Star who became a financial mudslide. But Hayward is a better shooter and will have a shorter contract.
A better haircut?
You be the judge.
In one sense, Hayward isn’t worth $17 million annually, or even $15 million. He’s not a franchise player. But odds of the Jazz landing a significantly better/younger player through free agency are slim. The big-name talent seems to be making clear where it intends to land, i.e. not in Utah. But Hayward doesn’t have to be a bust.
All he needs to do is start acting like a guy who just walked into a 400 percent raise.
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