It’s no secret that I believe Gordon Hayward will be just as good of an all-around basketball player as Paul George. That being said Paul George has played great over the first 2 weeks of the season and I wanted to compare the two to see where G Hay stacks up. The hard thing when comparing these two is one has a solid team around him and the other does not. They are both the go to guys on their respective teams, but having other guys that demand a presence makes it easier for George to have one-on-one coverage.
Amin Elhassan of ESPN has stated that Hayward is the better offensive player but George is a max player because of his defense. Don’t get me wrong George is an excellent defender but Hayward isn’t that far behind. The difference right now between the two is their teams. The numbers that George is putting up on a championship caliber team make him a superstar where Hayward putting up his numbers doesn’t mean anything if the Jazz can’t win games. Hayward is going to get a max from some team in the off-season and I’ll be watching intently to see if the Jazz match.
Through 7 games this season (Pacers 7-0, Jazz 0-7) the numbers look like this:
Paul George: 37.2 minutes, 25.1 points on 46.8% shooting, 7.9 boards, 4 assists, 1.7 steals and .4 blocks
Gordon Hayward: 35.7 minutes, 19.1 points on 45.1% shooting, 6.6 boards, 4.7 assists,1.3 steals and 0 blocks
The difference in their points come from both the three point line and free throw line. Hayward was a much better shooter from both of those places last year but this year has been struggling as he is shooting a different array of shots, instead of just spot ups. George is shooting three more threes a game making 1.7 more and shooting 2.6 more free throws making 2.6 more. I honestly think George gets star treatment, so that puts him at the line more as their play is very similar on spot ups compared to driving to the hoop. If you add both free throws and made threes into Hayward’s points to the level he was at last year he would be averaging 23.4 points.
Obviously this is only through 7 games and a lot can change over the course of the season. Even Trey Burke coming back I think would help Hayward improve on his percentages, as Trey can facilitate more and give Hayward more spot ups. This is something I’ll keep an eye on all season and even if you don’t think Hayward is anywhere near George it is still cool to see how close their games are statistically.