Gordon Hayward: NBA Draft Profile and Scouting Report
Position: Shooting Guard / Small Forward | Height: 6-8 | Weight: 211
Class: Sophomore | Age: 20 | Hometown: Brownsburg, Ind.
2009 Stats: 15.5 points | 8.2 rebounds | 1.7 assists | Game Log
NBA Mock Draft Ranking: 15
Gordon Hayward Video Highlights: YouTube
Gordon Hayward Scouting Report
Strengths: Hayward has a superior understanding of the game in terms of spacing, passing and general feel. While his stellar play in the NCAA Tournament certainly boosted his draft stock, his two quality years at upstart Butler give us reassurance that he is not merely a March wonder.
A surprisingly good athlete who tested very well in pre-draft camps with a 34.5-inch vertical leap, Hayward is versatile enough to play either the shooting guard or small forward positions at both ends of the floor. A natural scorer with a strong handle, he loves to utilize his first step on the perimeter and wiry 6-8 frame to finish at the basket or use his solid pull-up game from 16 feet and in.
A good passer who is constantly looking for others and rarely takes poor shots, Hayward will immediately fit in with his new team given his unselfishness and overall willingness to make others better. Although not the quickest laterally, he is a pretty good defender, giving credence to his high basketball IQ and understanding of where he needs to be. A constant threat on the glass, Hayward crashes the boards all game long, always jockeying for position vying to create extra possessions with his hustle.
He finishes at the rim really well, showing great touch with both hands and a general comfort level to shoot over bigger defenders, while displaying excellent body control in the paint. Moreover, his ability to get to the line make him as attractive a player in the late lottery as you'll find, because even when he's not hitting from distance, Hayward will still find ways to score, given that he averaged nearly 6 free throws per game and made 82.9 percent.
Weaknesses: Despite his sound shooting mechanics and high release, Hayward was rather inconsistent during his sophomore year from the outside, shooting under 30 percent from three. Because he isn't going to be the physical post-up type of small forward, questions surrounding his perimeter jumper are appropriate.
In addition, Hayward has struggled to consistently show the killer instinct many GMs and scouts alike look for, often not commanding the ball or asserting himself enough offensively down the stretch of games. In the Butler system, he played so much at the four spot with the oft-fouling Matt Howard on the bench that you have to wonder if he is a true small forward in the NBA. You have to wonder about this because he really doesn't project as an NBA four on any level, considering that he rarely scores out of the post, and will not be strong or bulky enough to defend NBA power forwards.
Forecast: The questions marks aside, this is a great kid who is coachable, intelligent, and very talented. He doesn't have the ceiling as other wings who will also be considered in the early teens -- namely mid-major counterparts Paul George and Luke Babbitt -- but Hayward will have every opportunity to become an effective starter in the league. His combination of ball handling, shooting potential, passing and basketball acumen make Hayward one of the safest picks in the entire first round and an early candidate to earn immediate minutes as a rookie.
Gordon Hayward Articles:
3/25: NCAA Eye for the NBA Guy: Sweet 16
3/17: NCAA Eye for the NBA Guy: West Region
More Scouting Reports: Draft Express | NBADraft.net