Guest commentary: Just how good has Gordon Hayward been this season?

Guest commentary: Just how good has Gordon Hayward been this season?

For the first time since Deron Williams, the Utah Jazz have an NBA All-Star. The Jazz are also currently sitting in the fourth spot in the Western playoff race and are positioned to host a first-round playoff series. Not only has Hayward improved every season in his seven-year career, but he has turned himself into one of the most efficient shooters in the league. That’s right, the Jazz man is keeping some pretty elite company when it comes to shooting the rock. Let me explain.

The standard for shooting greatness is the 50-40-90 season. That’s shooting 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the line. There have been only 11 50-40-90 seasons in NBA history, and it is one of the rarest feats in the sport. Gordon is not on 50-40-90 pace, but his shooting numbers using that same criteria suggests that Gordon ranks among the league’s best in shooting efficiency.

A player’s shooting score is calculated by adding up the player’s shooting percentages for field goals, 3-pointers and free throws. Hayward’s numbers look like this: 46.9 FG percentage + 39.2 3PT percentage + 87.0 FT percentage = 173. Of the NBA’s top 25 scorers (Hayward is 22nd in the NBA in scoring), only Steph Curry (182), C.J. McCollum (180.3), Kevin Durant (179), Kawhi Leonard (178.6), Isaiah Thomas (177.4), Paul George (175) and Kyrie Irving (174.9) rank higher. That’s right, Hayward’s shooting efficiency exceeds the likes of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Damian Lillard, LeBron James, Demar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, John Wall, Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson.

And while not an All-Star, George Hill is not far behind his All-Star teammate. Hill’s shooting score is 170 (48.1 FG percentage + 41.1 3PT percentage + 81 FT percentage), which puts him ahead of All-Star guards James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker, John Wall and Jimmy Butler. Is it any wonder why the Jazz are 18-4 when Hayward and Hill play together?

Rich Goates is a die-hard NBA and Jazz fan and publishes an NBA blog, www.LegendGrows.com. He lives in Heber City with his wife and four children.

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Published at Thu, 09 Feb 2017 19:56:00 +0000