Hayward, Favors Fully Prepared For Leadership Roles With Young Jazz



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LAS VEGAS – Ask anyone who has knocked around USA Basketball’s mini-camp this week to name the player who has raised the most eyebrows and Gordon Hayward‘s name will come up. The Utah Jazz swingman showed up here this summer with a simple game plan and the perfect blueprint of how to execute that plan.

“They just want you to play hard and compete in everything you do,” Hayward said. “This camp is full of stars, so you’re not going to impress anyone trying to showboat or do anything spectacular. Everybody in this gym has seen it all plenty of times before. [U.S.] Coach [Mike] Krzyzewski lays it all out for you from the start. And if you listen, it’s pretty simple.”

Simple is the opposite of what awaits Hayward and Jazz big man and fellow mini-camp participant Derrick Favors when they get back to Salt Lake City for training camp. No longer are these two lottery picks from 2010 going to operate in the shadows. They’re going to have to step into leadership roles for a young Jazz team that saw seven free agents depart for other destinations this summer.

Hayward will be the team’s leading returning scorer next season after averaging a career-high 14.1 points while logging 27 starting assignments. Favors is the second-leading returning scorer (9.4 points to go along with his 7.1 rebounds in just 23.2 minutes), after starting just eight games while playing behind Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.

They will be the foundation for a green starting five that also includes Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and rookie point guard Trey Burke. Hayward, 23, will be the oldest member of that group and the most seasoned. It’s a role that Hayward seems more than ready to handle, based on his showing here this week and on the Select Team that worked out against the star-studded crew that won gold at the London Olympics last summer.

“He’s been very impressive,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo. “He’s a very impressive player. He knows how to play. He’s aggressive. He can shoot the ball. He’s made a mark in both camps, last year and this year.”

The same goes for Favors, who has spent most of his time this summer in Salt Lake City under thew watchful eye of Jazz great and Hall of Famer Karl Malone. It’s been summer school that Favors, an Atlanta native, says is absolutely necessary if he’s going to realize his potential sooner rather than later.

“There’s no hiding anymore,” Favors said. “I had to tell my mom and my family back home that it was important for me to stay [in Salt Lake City] and put in the work. I couldn’t let myself get home and get too comfortable. There is so much riding on this summer and this season for myself and [Hayward]. I don’t know what they’ve told him but I know I’ve got be ready to go right now. It’s on me and Enes to hold it down up front now that Al and Paul have moved on.”

Hayward’s looked more like the college star he was at Butler during his time here this week than he has the role player he was asked to be in his first three seasons in the league. His ballhandling, slashing and athleticism have been on full display. He’s more than held his own on defense, too, sticking out in this talented crowd on both ends regularly.

“That’s what you love about things like this,” said Favors, who will team up with Hayward on the Blue team in Thursday night’s intrasquad showcase at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. “I know how good he is. I’ve seen him do this stuff in practice every day. But it’s been funny to talk to some of these other guys and see how impressed they are with Gordon this week.”

Hayward said he’s sticking to the plan this week and making sure to ready himself for the increased role he’ll play for the Jazz when summer school is over.

“It’s something Coach K talked about on the first day,” Hayward said. “You have to adapt, adapt the way you play and be a versatile player. Out here, you know, you’re just one of the guys. But when you get back to your respective teams you’re going to be a more dominant player and have a much bigger role. They want me to be more of a leader next season and Derrick and I have talked about it. We’re excited about it. It’s going to be a challenge for us. We’re both naturally quiet guys so we’re going to have to be more vocal and get on guys when we have to. But it’s time, it’s time for us to be the leaders.”

19 Comments

  1. kek says:

    Gordon Hayward is a great talent, and now he finnaly is the GUY for the jazz, I look forward to a great year from him: )

  2. Kyle R says:

    We will be a lower scoring team without Paul and Al, but it is a necessary move for us, I was saying all last year, the sooner we get rid of them the better, give Kanter and Favors and Burks more play time, they’re gonna need it. Finally after years and years of searching we found our starters, 5 perfect young guys who will shoot lights out in a couple years. But for now, despite how surprising Kanter and Burks may be this season, our bench is too weak and inexperienced to consistently win us games, so far now… It looks like Jazz are a losing team. But it’s a developing year! So that’s fine by me. I just hope Trey Burke isn’t a total bust…. GO JAZZ!

    • Dan says:

      I would not be surprised at all if this new team actually scores more points. They will be excellent in transition and score quickly. They may have issues once the defense is set, hopefully they learn to depend upon execution of the offense in those situations.

  3. ko0kiE says:

    can’t wait to see the young guns play big minutes.. finally they got rid of millsap and jefferson, they just slowed the development of favors and kanter, after all they are both No. 3 picks and deserved more minutes

  4. Shawn K says:

    I’m not really a Utah Jazz fan, but even I’ll admit that they should be a fun team to watch this season with their new, young foundation of the future. I really hope Derrick Favors breaks out into an all-star!!!

  5. Oakley34BLAM says:

    I think they should have tried to hang on to either Jefferson or Millsap for another year (although I’m guessing they wouldn’t be too happy about a one or two year offer). I’m sure both Kanter and Favors are ready to go, but as said above…their bench is a little light. Burke and Burks will have to have stellar years for these guys to make the playoffs in the West, but I am pretty excited about this team’s future. Just hope patience in SLC is strong enough for coach Corbin to last thru a non-playoff season. 2014-2015 should be a truer test.

  6. Teodomiro Contramestre says:

    C´mon guys, it´s time to step up. You can do it!

    Best of luck, from the Jazz biggest fan in Portugal.

    Teo

  7. lee says:

    i think the will really push the ball and rebound good outside shooting and defense is going to be there problems i think probally simple stuff like fouling to much as well but in a couple of years if this team grows together there going to beast on people especially if the can keep them all in the same place

    • Dan says:

      If defense is a problem than they really need a new coach. They will have the personnel to have one of the best defensive teams in the league.

  8. toddkerr says:

    Jazz will probably win about 33 games next year and be a late lottery team. Their starting five is young but will actually be surprisingly competitive, they’ve just got no bench. Excited that they just signed Ian Clark after his 33 pt game in Vegas; they really needed some D, 3 pt shooting, and bench depth.

  9. toddkerr says:

    The Jazz are going to be better than most people think. Which is a shame because they’re going to play themselves right out of getting Andrew Wiggins but they should be fun to watch. I agree with the real deal that Kanter is going to suprise a lot of people, I think he’ll average a double double.

    • ko0kiE says:

      I don’t think so.. i can think of at least 20 teams better than the jazz. they need some experience and build chemistry.. remember most of the players from last year left while a lot of teams in western conference kept their core team together or even got better by adding extra pieces. but they will be certainly better than the Sacramento Kings or the Charlotte Bobcats.. thats for sure ;)

      • Dan says:

        The Jazz core will be playing next year, they’ve been together 2-3 years already. Most of the guys that left were just one year veteran mercenaries, or hold over from another era. They will surprise a lot of people by being much better than expected. I’m guessing they end up about the same spot as last year 9-10th in the west.

  10. J says:

    they will prob end up being bout as good as last year but losing big al Jefferson is surely gonna hurt them in 2014 season

  11. The real deal says:

    Watch mu man, Kanter ! He Will be the surprise of the year…

  12. Wonderboy says:

    Theses guys will be awesome. Go Jazz!

  13. JSM01 says:

    Can´t believe I´m saying this but Utah will be fun to watch next season!

  14. T-roy says:

    Young team that is going to be fun to watch this year!