Gordon Hayward, one of Utah’s cornerstone pieces for the future, has hit a tough stretch. Over the past 10 games he is shooting 29.7% from the field and has gone 6-for-34 from 3-point range.
Looking at Gordon’s recent shot chart, a few items jump out. In the restricted area he is 8 for his last 24 after hitting 22 of his previous 35 shots.
Last year, his best shooting spot was the angle-right three. Recently, he has gone just 1-for-11. Prior to that he had gone 8-for-17.
Why does Gordon go through these swings? One of the issues may be how much the Jazz play in the half court.
The Jazz use 43% of their possession in the final eight seconds on the shot clock (via 82games.com). Putting that in perspective, Memphis and Chicago (two of the slowest-paced, most half court heavy teams) only use 42% of their possessions in the final eight seconds of the shot clock.
Throughout the year, Ron Boone has pointed out how terrific Gordon in is in the open floor. However, when he has been trying to make plays in the half court he has struggled.
The numbers bear this out. In fast break situations, Gordon is shooting 70.2% (3.6 ppg) whereas in the half court he is shooting 35.5%.
Recently, the Jazz have been playing slower and slower, and it has impacted Gordon negatively. Through January, Gordon was scoring 4 ppg in the fast break; since then he has dropped to 1.7 ppg in the fast break.
In November, Gordon either shot or assisted on 2.3 fast breaks per game. In December, that increased to 3.3 shots or assists on fast breaks. In 2014, however, the numbers have been on a startling decline. In January, Gordon only contributed a shot or assist on 1.5 fast breaks a game, and then this month it was been down to 1 per game.
Since January, Gordon has played almost exclusively in the half court. Accordingly, the Jazz pace of play has decreased every month of the season.
At Michigan, Trey Burke played one of the slowest-paced games in the NCAA. Michigan was a half court pick and roll team that used every second of the possession. Burke is a spread floor player not a fast break player.
This may also be why Gordon Hayward is the one Jazz player who didn’t get a bump from playing with Trey Burke. Every other Jazz player’s EFG% has taken at least a 5% jump with Burke on the floor (as we discussed in the PODCAST with Kevin Pelton).
For the season, Gordon’s EFG% when Trey is on the floor is 45.6% and when he is off the floor is 42%. However, if you dig deeper and look at Gordon and Trey since Jan. 1 when the fast break began to diminish, it tells a different story. Since Jan. 1, Gordon’s EFG% with Trey on the floor is 45.6% and with him off the floor is 47.6% (via nbawowy.com).
Hopefully it will take just a few open-court opportunities for Gordon to get back on track.