SLAMonline Mock Draft: Gordon Hayward, No. 11
An attempt to bring the “buzz” back to New Orleans.
by Bryan Crawford / @_BryanCrawford
Chris Paul is so good that he makes the New Orleans Hornets a much better squad than they actually are. His talent makes up for the deficiencies the team has in certain areas, but nowhere is it more evident than on the perimeter. Marcus Thornton proved to be a valuable asset to the team playing SG on one wing, but where the Hornets really lacked depth and talent last years was at the SF position on the opposite wing. Let’s face it…
Peja Stojakavic is old.
So is James Posey.
Julian Wright is the youngest of the bunch, but he’s not a true SF. His outside shooting range is limited and his shot is very inconsistent. After those three guys, that’s pretty much it for the Hornets. They’ve had to play Morris Peterson at SF because of his size and shooting ability, but his natural position is at SG. They desperately need to upgrade the hole that they have at the SF spot in a hurry. They need a younger, more versatile kind of player who can not only get up and down with Chris Paul and Darren Collison, but who can also knock down the open shot, create his own offense, and create scoring opportunities for others.
With the 11th pick in the 2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the New Orleans Hornets select…
Gordon Hayward from Butler University.
Any GM by this point would have to take the best player available. At No. 11, the Hornets are in perfect position because Hayward is not only the best player available based on the previous selections in this particular Mock Draft, but he also addresses a need as well. It’s a win-win situation. His size, basketball skills, and athleticism make him the perfect complimentary player to Chris Paul and David West. He doesn’t have to come in and try and be a star, he just needs to come in and do his job.
One of his primary responsibilities will be to knock down the open jumpers when they come. While he’s more of a streaky shooter as opposed to a pure shooter from long range, he’ll still get plenty of opportunities to perfect his shot in-game given that Chris Paul commands so much attention from the defense. With Paul’s ability to drive and kick, Hayward will be the beneficiary of a lot of wide open, outside shots. All he has to do is make them.
Defensively, he could be considered a liability, but he doesn’t necessarily have to be a lock down defender. He has Emeka Okafor behind him roaming the paint who will be ready to help anytime he gets beat off the dribble. But his length and decent lateral quickness should be disruptive enough to make him at the very least a serviceable defender early on in his career.
While he’s definitely going to have some rough nights on D, he’ll pose a lot of problems offensively for guys trying to guard him as well.
As I mentioned earlier, he’s a streaky shooter from long range, but his mid-range game is where he should be able to shine the most; especially catching and shooting coming off screens which he does very well. The shooting percentages he put up at Butler don’t really do him justice as he’s a lot better shot than the numbers indicate. Also, his ball handling is one of the more underrated parts of his game that not a lot of people give him credit for. He not only has the ability to dribble-drive to the basket and finish with either hand, but he can also create separation with his dribble to get open shots for himself.
And while people like to question his athletic ability, don’t sleep on Gordon Hayward…he’ll dunk you if the opportunity is there.
Going to the Hornets and playing with a great PG like Chris Paul would certainly help him improve and become the best player he can be in the NBA. While it isn’t a guaranteed recipe for success, one could do no worse than coming in to the League and playing on a team that has arguably the best player at the PG position who loves getting other people involved and making his teammates better. Hayward also has a high enough basketball IQ that he should be able to pick up things quickly and apply them in games which should make him a much better player by his third or fourth year in the NBA.
|2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|3||New Jersey||Derrick Favors||18||Miami|
|5||Sacramento||Greg Monroe||20||San Antonio|
|6||Golden State||Wesley Johnson||21||OKC|
|8||L.A. Clippers||Al-Farouq Aminu||23||Minnesota|
|11||New Orleans||Gordon Hayward||26||OKC|