Since Hayward’s career night against the Thunder on January 7th, the 4th year wing has looked less than acceptable. He has shot the ball awful and even worse has looked unmotivated to be on the floor. In his defense he still has had games nearing a triple double.
I think we as fans hold Gordon to a whole new standard because of the salary implications after this season. Rumor has it that both Boston and Phoenix are interested in him and could offer him a a close to max deal. If this is the case Jazz fans don’t want to overpay for another contract like Kirilenko had. Understandable.
The problem (and maybe the blessing) with how Hayward is playing right now is mainly due to the strain his body has taken this year. Hayward averages the most miles ran per game at 2.7 miles. He also plays the game in a very physical way where he is always running into players and drawing contact. In my limited career of basketball I remember how hard it was to shoot well if my legs were tired. Same principle for Hayward applies here. The longer the season without a necessary break the worse his shooting will become because all of the power is coming from his arms.
I expect a bounce back game tonight against the Celtics and his old coach Brad Stevens from Butler but I don’t expect him to get back on track unless he sits out a few games and rests up. For now fans need to give him the benefit of the doubt as the Jazz have asked him to take on more than his body could handle (this year). This does not mean he won’t be worth the money the Jazz pay him in free agency.
Either way right now is the time to give Hayward a break (both literally and figuratively)