BREAKDOWN – Good news Hayward is making progress

                Gordon Hayward is in a slump.  Over the past 6 games he is shooting 24 of his last 87.    However, I have good news for you about the development of Gordon Hayward.   When you dig deeper into Gordon’s shooting he is making substantial steps in his game.

First, being the #1 option on offense is completely new for Gordon.  Last year,  he played off of his teammates and had a very successful year.  This year he has to make things happen.  This is a huge jump.  The best players in the NBA struggle with this adjustment.   Take a look at Kevin Durant’s first year in the NBA when he tried to be a go to guy.   (Yes, Durant was a rookie and Hayward is a 4th year player, but also no one anticipates Hayward being Durant)

durant as rook

Being a number 1 option is making plays for yourself.   Very few players in the NBA are capable of doing achieving this with any success.

This year only 48.9% of Hayward’s field goals have been assisted.   The most assists have come from Burks and Jefferson, not a point guard.   Last year, 69% of his field goals were assisted and most of them by Mo Williams, Earl Watson and Jamaal Tinsley.    No one has been hurt more by the lack of a point guard than Gordon.

Gordon is learning how to manufacture his own shot and he is making huge progress.  The toughest shot for a player is the mid range shot from 5 to 15 feet.   This shot is taken in traffic, usually off a dribble and more often than not means finding a tough shooting pocket.

Last year, Gordon was 34 of 91 on 5 to 15 foot shots (37%).    These shots are unassisted shots.  Of all of those field goals only 35% of those were assisted last year.

This year, Hayward is 18 of 42 (43%) with a really strong performance specifically from 10 to 14 feet.  Of his 10 to 14 feet shots 92% of those shots have been unassisted.    Worth noting as well last year in entire season he attempted 91 shot from 5 to 15 feet and this year in 15 games he has attempted half nearly half of that.

In addition, inside 5 feet Hayward is finishing at 58.5% and 52% of those are assisted.    Last year he made 53.5% and 62.3% were assisted.  These are much more difficult shots when they are self created and he is making them at a higher rate.

If he has improved in these areas how come he is shooting under 40% on the season.  Last year outside 20 feet he shot 149 of 360 (41.3%) and on three’s 101 of 242 (41.7%).  The key here is 83% of those shot were assisted.

This year, his 20+ feet shots are falling just 28 of 102 (27%) and his three’s 20 for 65 (31%) and the big difference is he is being forced to create these himself.   On these 28 field goals 19 have been assisted or 68% instead of the 83% of a year ago.

As Trey Burk gets more comfortable and others on the team start to create opportunities Hayward will start making his outside shots again and in the meantime he is learning how to make shots inside 15 feet which are far more difficult shots.

These are all puzzle pieces to a complete player.  It takes a long time for the puzzle to be completed.

BREAKDOWN – The Jazz 33 corner three’s why aren’t they going in

The Jazz are a stunning 3 of 33 on corner 3′s so far this year.   What is most discouraging about the performance is the coaching staff altered the offense this year to try to add and promote corner 3 play.

How can a team be 3 of 33 when the rest of the league is hitting 38% of all corner three’s? I wondered are the Jazz not hitting the corner 3 because  they are coming from the wrong angle? Is the offense constructed incorrectly, are they forced or are they just missing open looks?

Today I watched all the corner three’s the Jazz have taken this year. (32 of the 33 were available)  I charted each to what side of the floor, how we got the look, if it was wide open, open or contested and how was the execution.

The good news is the Jazz are just missing good looks.  The shots broke down as follows:

How they came about:  25 in half court, 4 in transition, 2 on offensive rebounding kick outs and 1 on a backcourt turnover.  All the makes are in half court

Type of look:  12 wide open looks, 11 open looks, 9 contested

Execution – On the 25 half court sets I marked 11 of the plays as perfect execution. On those 11 they Jazz were  just 3 of 11.  Others were high pick and roll one pass to the wing for a shot and I thought that was a bit early and too easy even if the look was open. On those plays the Jazz were 0 for 7.

Conclusion:  It is the band that can’t shoot straight.  This can be taken as a positive because at least the execution is good and when the Jazz relax, stop pressing and have better shooters on the floor these plays will turn into points and open up a lot of the other offensive opportunities.  Without these shots falling it is hard for the Jazz to open up the lane for drivers, pick and roll to the roll man along with numerous other offensive chances.

corner 3


SHOT CHARTS – Key shot charts from last night

JAZZ SHOOTING – Good: amount of shots at the rim — Bad:  Mid range shooting

game 1 v. thunder - jazz shot chart

JAZZ 4TH QUARTER SHOOTING – nothing from the outside fell

game 1 v. thunder - jazz 4th quarter

THUNDER SHOOTING – great rim protection by Jazz and ran them off the three point line – Also no corner 3′s. All huge areas of focus in training camp

game 1 v. thunder -- thunder shot chart

ALEC BURKS SHOT CHART – All of that without a single outside shot going down

Game 1 v. THunder - Burks

GORDON HAYWARD SHOT CHART – Got the right side shots that usually fall – only 2 at the rim

game 1 v. tHunder - Gordon Hayward


BREAKDOWN – Jazz defense by shot charts

The Jazz had a strong defensive night last night holding the Warriors to 33. 6% shooting.   The Warriors hit their season average nearly 40% from 3 but it was near the rim where the Jazz defense took effect.

The Warriors played their starters, who were playing their third game in 4 nights in the pre-season, mostly for the 1st and 3rd quarters against the Jazz starters.   The Jazz did two things very well defensively, they rebounding and they protected the rim.

Here is the 1st quarter shot chart of the Warriors. Notice the Warriors shooting around the basket.

warriors 1st quarter

Same story in the third quarter.

warriors 3rd quarter

Here is the Warriors whole game shot chart

warriors shooting


Scouting Report on Alec Burks prior to the NBA Draft

I was searching through files getting ready for the season. This was my scouting report on Alec Burks prior to the NBA Draft

Player: Alec Burks
Specifics: 6’6 193
Birthdate: July 20 1991 (20 years old)
Numbers: 21 pts 6.5 rebs and 3 asts – 47% FG and 29% 3pt
Game Scouted: Colorado v. Texas A&M – Colorado v. Kansas

Alec grew up in Grandview Missouri. Was the state player of the year in Missouri. Was the Big 12 Freshman of the year. Leaves Colorado after two years. Set the Colorado school record for most points in a season and most free throws made and attempted in the a season.

Alec is a bonafide scorer. He plays mostly in isolation dribble drive circumstances. He was forced to use a ton of possessions at Colorado. The knock on his game is his outside shooting but as a 81% free throw shooter he has touch. He creates and plays off contact. He has an amazing ability to get shot off. His handle is ok for a two guard and he is a somewhat willing passer. Defensively, he is not very active.

He has all the skills to be a 18 to 20 point a game scorer in the NBA. He will be very good on a late short clock. If his shooting from the outside improves he will be deadly. Can he learn how to play as the non primary focus of a team’s offense? If he is special inside he has a chance to be a Brandon Roy type player. He will score and get to the line in the NBA. I believe players can learn how to shot and would anticipate Burks to be a 33% three point shooter, not great but good enough. Has to learn how to play without the ball, at Colorado had the ball in his hand most of the time.

Overall: He is a slashing scorer.
Move without the ball – Gets himself open but doesn’t use picks great to free himself. Didn’t come off picks tight or on a curl
Isolation Game: He can take you 1 on 1 and beat you. But he is going to need to learn some tricks to help him complete plays
Handle: He can beat you with the dribble and holds it together in traffic . Great hesitation dribble
Pick and Roll: He doesn’t turn the corner a great deal. He would rather retreat and go 1 on 1 .
Shooting: Not a good shooter. Some think his shot is broken others think it will develop. I am more on the side of developing. Has great elevation on his jump shoot which means he will be able to get the shot off. I also think it might be why he shots a low percentage that being that he is fatigued. Has a tendency to fade.
Rebounding –
Passing – Passing is part of his game but not what makes him. He is ok passing but he doesn’t make a ton of plays for his teammates.
Understanding: Great offensive player.
Poise: Sometimes a bit cool for school.

Overall: Pretty lax defensively. Doesn’t give a lot of himself on the defensive end. He played harder in the final moments of the game. Good enough athlete to recover.
On Floor Defense: Not good. .
Help Defense: Not much
Pick and Roll D gets hit on picks without a lot fight.
Rebounding Average for a shooting guard

Hands: Good free throws and good handle on the dribble
Balance. Willing to play with contact, seems strong
Play Hard: Not incredibly but gives of himself offensively.
Feet: Good balance
Pressure Not clear
Attitude If he has it inside he could be special.

Best Case Scenario Brandon Roy or Paul Pierce
Likely Case Scenario: Caron Butler or Josh Howard Demar Derozan
Worst Case Scenario Willie Green

BREAKDOWN – Hayward’s task – From 3rd scorer to primary scorer – A continuing Study

Today we look at Danny Granger of the Indiana Pacers, in our continued look at players who had a major jumping possessions. Granger in the 2006-07 season the average 14 possession game then jumped to 19 the next year and 25 year after that. Granger is the best case scenario for Gordon Hayward. Most of the players will look at stay the same or take a slight dip when they get the increase of burden of possessions. However, in the case of Danny Granger he exploded jumping from a locke offensive rating of 17 to 22 and then to 33. Truthfully Danny Granger outlier when it comes to looking at this research of all the other players.

Granger used a possession every 2 minutes that he was on floor when he became the number one option for the Indiana Pacers. That is a tough task and is almost ball hogish. For Gordon Hayward to be able to use a possession every 2 minutes is going to be difficult in a balance jazz attack.



BREAKDOWN – Hayward’s task – From 3rd scorer to primary scorer – A continuing study

The next player in our study, looking at what happens when someone goes from the third option to the first option offensively is Al Harrington. We must go back a few years, Al Harrington came to the NBA directly out of high school and became the primary go to guy in Atlanta after 6 years in Indiana. In his final years in Indiana Harrington was averaging about 14 possessions a game but when he went to Atlanta he we had to use 20 possessions a game. Harrington struggles in this role if you look at his Locke offensive ranking he was just barely above average. However, looking back the years Harrington played in Indiana he was not an efficient player . In fact, his numbers got just a notch better when he became the primary option in Atlanta and had the increase of possession use.

Atlanta gave up on Harrington and his return to being a complimentary player in Indiana, Golden State and the New York Knicks this seems to be much better after having the experience of being a primary scorer. Specifically, to our study of Gordon Hayward’s move the third score to the first score we see once again the move to 20 possessions from 15 didn’t hurt Harringtons productivity he was never a particular efficient player.


BREAKDOWN – Hayward’s task – A study of going from 3rd to 1st option.

This year the Utah Jazz will ask Gordon Hayward to go from the 3rd offensive option to the number one option. This is an enormous burden on a player. Last season, Hayward used 14 possessions a game it is fair to guess he’ll be near 19 or 20 possessions a game this season. Hayward’s move to the bench last year, increased his possession usage when he was on the floor from the previous year greatly. This will make the transition a bit easier than it would have been otherwise. For example, two seasons ago Hayward used 13.7 scoring opportunities per 40 minutes and last season he used 17.2 scoring opportunities for 40 minutes. At that rate Hayward would have to make almost no change to get to19 or 20 possessions a game assuming he plays 38 tonight.


However, defenses will make an adjustment to Hayward and this is what makes going from being the number three option to the number one option so difficult. Over the next few days we will look at those players who have had to have a similar jump in their game and see what it did to their efficiency productivity.

Our first piece of analysis will be current jazzman Richard Jefferson who on two different occasions in his career with asked to pick up the primary scoringload. Looking at the chart below you will see in the yellow highlights areas where Jefferson had an increase in possession usage. Both of those times Jefferson’s first year actually he increased is efficiency before slipping in the second year. Overall, Jeffersons performance in those two seasons at the number one option are not greatly different from what he did as a complimentary player to the stars he has played with. This is a very good sign for what the Jazz can expect for Gordon Hayward this upcoming season.


That next player will look at is Al Harrington. If you have any suggestions of players to look at please email me at or tweet me with #locketipoff