What’s the Solution for a Slump?

February 4th, 2014 | by Laura Thompson
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

There’s a lot to like about the all-around, two-way game of Gordon Hayward. But I think Jazz fans are also pretty realistic about the fact that he is not the #1 guy on a great playoff team. He’s a very good second or third option on a great playoff team, so we’re seeing the learning and stretching process as he’s trying to figure that out. As David Locke has pointed out, Hayward’s struggles seem to coincide with Trey Burke’s. While Hayward’s been putting up very consistent rebounding and assist numbers each game, his offensive efficiency has been lacking. At times, he’s heavily turnover prone, as we saw highlighted in the Golden State game with his 8 turnovers (including a crucial turnover in the final minute of the game). Jazz fans, here are a few questions for you: Do you want the Jazz to re-sign him in the offseason? At what price? Or do you support the trade-Hayward-now idea?

Trey Burke has been struggling lately. In January, he shot 35.1% from the field, down from 40.8% in December, and 36.6% in November. His 3FG% is down in January, at 32.7%, down from 36.8% in December. While his assists per game have increased each month—3.0 to 5.9 to 6.8 assists per game—his rebounding and turnover numbers have also gotten worse. Is this the rookie wall? Or is this what happens when other teams are scouting him and focusing their defensive strategies on him? At the same time, I feel like I’ve learned a few things about Burke this year: he’s more mature than most his age, and he’s a competitor and is going to keep fighting. This is going to be a bumpy year for him—it often is for rookie point guards—but he’ll find a way to finish strong, and he’ll come back next year even better.

Diante Garrett is a pretty solid backup point guard. I think he’d look even better if we were fully healthy and had the bench we thought we’d have at the beginning of the season, but he’s looked especially good in this last week—relatively speaking, of course, with a handful of losses—and was the best defender on Steph Curry in a game when Curry basically couldn’t miss. His height and his length give us a good look during the games when Burke is struggling on the defensive end. Garrett had a couple of buzzer-beating shots to end quarters against the Warriors, and he had some really good assists off to the bigs or on a drive-and-dish to someone camping out at the three-point line in both the Golden State game and the Clippers game. Good job, Dennis Lindsey.

Garrett shot very poorly in December—28.6% from the floor—but dramatically increased that to 50.0% in January. He also shot 43.8% from three in January, up from 30.0% in December. His assist numbers in November were still the highest they’ve been during his time in Utah, but he was getting more time with first-team players at that point than he is now; still, his assist numbers increased slightly from 1.4 to 1.8 from December to January. What if Garrett, with his improved play, is able to fill in as a backup point guard to Trey Burke in a similar fashion to how Eric Maynor helped Damian Lillard last year? I found this blurb from the Oregon Live paper last season:

“[S]ince Maynor’s arrival, Lillard has experienced a substantial across-the-board increase in production that has only enhanced his already-high profile.”

In the 14 games since Maynor joined the Blazers, Lillard’s scoring has improved by nearly three points, from 18.4 to 21.2 per game, and his shooting numbers have soared. Lillard is shooting 7.1 percentage points better from the field (41.8 to 48.9) and almost 10 percentage points better from three-point range (34.9 to 44.6 percent) with Maynor on the roster.”

If Trey Burke is able to get out of his slump quickly, will Gordon Hayward then be able to get out of his? And is Diante Garrett the answer for Trey Burke’s slump? How quickly will it take for both Burke and Hayward to get out of their slumps? I think these are questions that will be very important for the Jazz long term, so it’ll be interesting to watch over the next several weeks.

Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson

Laura was a Jazz fan since diapers, even growing up in California. Her favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach--though possibly not in that order.
Laura Thompson


  1. Aaron says:

    I definitely want Hayward back, but am starting to think DL was wise not to give him big money. There is a very good chance Boston or someone else could overpay, but not by much if the Jazz still have his rights. I’m hoping we trade Richard Jefferson and maybe Marvin to allow maximum minutes for the young guys. I have way more confidence in Lindsey than I ever did in O’Connor, so if he does end up trading Hayward, I’ll give him a lot more leeway. But either way, I’ve had to eat my words from that draft. Something to the effect of, “the Jazz WOULD draft a white guy named Gordon,” and “he better be Larry Bird”. He was never near Bird’s level, but I agree that he potentially could be a number two or three guy on a great team, and possibly make an All-Star team or two.

  2. Big Billy says:

    Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke’s offensive efficiency will go up if Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins is our main scorer. Enes Kanter can be the secondary scorer and side-kick.

  3. cw says:

    It all comes down to money. There is a very real risk that what you see now is what you get. You don’t pay $13 million a year for who he is now–a spot up shooter, secondary distributor, average defensively. Him getting more rebounds this year doesn’t add anything. If he doesn’t get those rebounds the bigs do. He has done nothing this year to show that he is something more. I would also say, that what he has shown is that he is most likely not going to be much more. He is athletic but not athletic enough to consistently make shots off the dribble or get to the hoop, which is what first options do. He also has not shown much awareness of craft. As a jump shooter who can dribble, he has not developed a pump fake. As a 6’9″ two guard he has not developed a post game. As a guy who can get into the top of the key but not all the way to the basket, he has not worked on any kind of floater. And beyond that, does he show any kind of killer instinct? Mostly, behind a stoic front. he seems kind of fragile emotionally. That’s why he goes on these long slumps.

    He has a lot to add to a team, he’s a good spot up shooter, a really good passer, and plays adequate defense, plus he’s a model citizen. He’d be a great third option. What is the going price for that? Not the $50 million + he was rumored to be asking for. And if teams like LA or Boston over value him to the point they would offer a top 5 draft pick–which has kind of been mentioned in the press here and there–the Jazz should jump on that. They would save a bunch of money over the next four years and likely get a better player in the long run.

  4. Spencer says:

    Everyone seems to be spot on here with these comments. I do believe there will be more consistency in future seasons fro Hayward, and I do believe Gordon has a ton of value both in Utah and around the league. I would not be surprised to see that the Jazz would have to over pay him to keep him.

    I have always wondered why the Jazz cannot just offer a front-loaded contract that will allow them to overpay during a time when they might as well give him the money as opposed to a Jefferson, then in a year when his annual salary drops, they can have someone who out-performs his salary and allows for the flexibility needed going forward. Come to think of it, why didn’t they do that with Favors. Give him an extra 3 million this year and have more flexibility in the future.

    • Steve says:

      Favors contract pays him more in the first year of his extension than any other. It goes back up slightly in the last year, but it is declining in the other ones

  5. Spencer says:

    Another point to ponder. I have been very impressed with Alec Burkes’ play as of late. He seems to be able to get to the rim at will and finish at a very high rate. His outside shooting is respectable and should continue to improve. If can learn to drop a few dimes to the big guys when their man rotates, he is going to be the real deal. I mention this here, because these guys essentially play the same position, and if say we have the 7th pick is it then worth it to move up to top three with the 7th and Hayward as chips? Is that possible? Would we rather have a Parker Burkes wing combo or a Burkes, Hayward, Hood combo?

    • cw says:

      If it was possible to move up by trading Hayward tot he top 3 and a pick I think you do that in an instant. That’s the point of having all those assets. And I think I would rather trade Hayward than Burks.

      I was all for Hayward until I found out he wanted 50+ for four. Everything he does now I see through the lens of his contract desires, and now all I can see is his weaknesses. What I really think is he’s the perfect 9 million dollar man. It’s all about value with the new CBA, especially if you are in a small market.

    • Aaron says:

      I really don’t think teams are going to be able to move up easily in this draft. There’s talk that Embiid and Parker could both return for their sophomore seasons, but there’s so much hype this year that what would ordinarily be a killer package might not be enticing enough. And I may be wrong, but I don’t think a draft-night deal can happen with Hayward. I believe it would have to be a sign-and-trade, which can only happen in July. Personally, if the opportunity was there, I’d definitely rather have Parker or Wiggins to go with Burks than Hayward and Hood or a similar good player. We need to swing for the fences, and a legit #1 guy will help us more than two supporting players. I’d love to see us nab an athletic, explosive alpha dog which, truth be told, we’ve always lacked. Even Karl was pretty steady and you’d rarely see him go for 40 or 50. Not that it’s the most important thing, but I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a player like that, and Wiggins and Parker seem to be the two guys most likely to do that.

  6. JT McKenna says:

    I disagree that Hayward is even a “very good” 3rd player on a championship team. That would be comparing him to Chris Bosh, Manu Ginobli, Shawn Marion, Paul Pierce, or Rajon Rondo in their primes. I think even he would agree that he has a loooong way to go to be on that level, and I don’t know if he’ll ever be.

    Right now I would categorize him as a “good” rotation player. I think most are too high on Gordon here in Utah. Some will still even go so far as to say that passing on Paul George wasn’t a huge mistake. 10 million a year for me would be too much at this point. I wouldn’t go higher than about 8.

    • Spencer says:

      You are right that he does not compare favorably to those guys, but if we can somehow get in the top 3 our fourth, fifth, sixth guys make up for that. Even our 7th and 8th.

      That is a lot of potential and athleticism. Get a little shooting to mix in with the backup SF and PG positions, and we are a shoe-on for a great run of playoff appearances with a real chance to win it all if the top two reach their potential and the next six get close on average.

      • Spencer says:

        Of course without a little luck, we would have to give up some of that. Let’s just dream for a minute and say we get a top three and then Golden State misses the playoffs. We then pick McDermot there and find a nice backup pg in the early 2nd round with athleticism to defend and shooting ability but maybe not a playmaker (can’t have it all in the 2nd round). That would give us a ten man rotation with a VERY BRIGHT FUTURE.

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