Is Gordon Hayward a Sell-High Candidate in Fantasy Basketball?
After a breakout season last year, Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward has started off the year hot again, posting averages of close to 20 points per game while shooting above 40 percent from beyond the three-point line.
However, while he is obviously a big part of Utah’s future, is it time to sell high on him in your yearlong fantasy teams?
During the month of December, Hayward has posted some staggering shooting numbers, and it -- importantly -- correlates with the Jazz being without Rudy Gobert. The Utah big man still reportedly does not have a timetable to return, but if initial reports of 4 to 6 weeks are still accurate in how much time he’ll miss, Gobert is approaching the minimum of that timeline.
In the 12 games that the Jazz have played without Gobert this season, Hayward is averaging over 20 points per game, and he is shooting an outstanding 43.9 percent from beyond the arc. His Effective Field Goal Percentage in the 12 games he has played without Gobert this season close to 53 percent, while that mark is 49 percent in games Gobert has started.
Hayward is averaging only two points fewer per game with Gobert in the starting lineup this season, but his three-point percentage drops close to 10 percentage points in games Gobert has started this season.
According to NBA Wowy, Hayward has a True Shooting Percentage of 58.3 percent this season when Gobert is off the court compared to 54.1 when he is playing, and even if you stretch the numbers out to the beginning of Gobert’s career, when he is on the court, Hayward shoots worse. Since 2013, Hayward has a True Shooting Percentage of 55.4 percent when Gobert is off the court, compared to 52.6 percent when he is on the court with Hayward.
Hayward’s Shooting Outlook
If you compare Hayward’s start to this season to his breakout 2014-15, he has still regressed some this season -- even with his huge numbers in December.
He hit a season-high in PER last year at 20.2, and he is down to 18.5 this season. Here at numberFire, his nERD rating, which is a player ranking that measures the total contribution of a player throughout the course of the season, is only 4.2, with the league average being zero.
He also has a nF Efficiency rating of only 1.3 this season, which is a metric used to estimate the point differential that a league average team would have with Hayward as their starter.
Another interesting factor in Hayward’s season so far has been his shooting numbers overall. He is, once again, averaging over 40 percent from beyond the arc. However, he is also shooting a career low from two-point range at 43.8 percent this season, and he is also shooting at three-year lows from mid-range (10 or more feet away from the basket while still inside the arc.)
Hayward has also been getting to the line more without Gobert. Per NBA Wowy, his Free Throw Attempt Rate -- his free throw attempts per field goal attempt -- is 0.27 when on the floor with Gobert. Without him? 0.48.
Holding onto Hayward isn’t going to kill you by any means, but it seems pretty clear that his inflated shooting percentages might be an outlier in his recent surge through the month of December.
Hayward had an average draft position of 25 in ESPN snake draft leagues this season, and it might not be a bad idea to put him on the block to see what you can get for him in return before Gobert comes back.