Man o man was the reception mixed by Jazz fans after the announcement of forward Gordon Hayward was announced as the ninth overall pick. Yes, some may say the Jazz are taking a big risk drafting the 6'8 211lbs forward out of Butler.
Then again, the upside and potential Hayward has is enormous. He helped guide a five seed champions out of the Horizon League to the national title game against Duke. When nobody still gave them respect in that game, they just barely came up short.
Hayward had two attempts in the closing seconds to take the lead but failed to deliver. What he did in his two seasons at Butler was incredible he had every right to enter the draft and is the reason why he was taken in the lottery.
The kid can flat out play. Shame on Jay Bilas for comparing him to Oregon's Luke Jackson. That's a terrible analogy quite frankly Hayward is leaps and bounds better than he ever was.
Now let's not get ahead of ourselves, the development of Hayward is going to take some time. First of all he has to get bigger so that he can compete with the physical players down low.
At his size it is important that he is able to add some muscle to go along with the length and athleticism that he already presents. Most analysts assume he will play the three spot, because he is too big to be a two-guard.
It is expected that he will most likely start out coming off the bench behind Milsapp or Kirilenko. This will be a good opportunity for him to learn the game and be able to contribute behind the starters.
His impressive jump-shooting ability and great workout is what propelled him in the Top 10 selection of the NBA Draft. Many people thought that Luke Babbitt out of Nevada was the pick here for Utah.
The Jazz showed that Hayward's maturity and dedication to the game was part of the reason they rolled the dice with him here. Jerry Sloan loved his character and meeting with him when they worked him out.
Having a player that wants to get better and knows what they are working for can pay tremendous dividends in the end.
There is a lot of talk and bicker about Utah taking the Butler star here with this pick. Especially with the likes of Aldrich, Davis, Henry, and Babbitt still on the board.
Give it some time. Let's just see how Hayward is able to adjust and transition to the NBA style and pace of play.
I for one believe he is going to be a solid pro who eventually is starting and producing at a high level. The upside and caliber player he is leads me to believe he will be a successful player in the NBA.
Guess we will just have to wait and see.
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