ESPN ranked him the 90th best player in the NBA. Sports Illustrated ranked him 67th. Both see him finishing with a higher rank next year. How high will he go and what is his worth? Could he be 30th next year? The 30th highest salary this year is Andrew Bogut’s $14.2 million.
Consider some similar players and what they’re making.
Is he better than Paul George? No. Moving on.
Is he better than Gerald Wallace? Yes. Wallace is making $10.1 million a year.
Is he better than Tyreke Evans? Yes. Evans is averaging $11 million a year.
Nic Batum? ($11) Danilo Gallinari? ($11) Andre Iguodala? ($12) Josh Smith? ($14)
I’m throwing out Wallace and taking these other six players because Wallace doesn’t come close, and because that’s the max allowed in Basketball-Reference for one comparison.
Minutes per game / PER
Tyreke Evans 31.0 / 18.1
Josh Smith 35.3 / 17.7
Gordon Hayward 29.2 / 16.8
Danilo Gallinari 32.5 / 16.7
Nicolas Batum 38.5 / 15.7
Andre Iguodala 34.7 / 15.2
So, recognizing that Hayward is in the middle for PER and the lowest in MPG, let’s go to Per 36 stats.
Of the six, Hayward has the worst 2P% but the best 3P%. He can expect his shots per game to go up this season with Al, Paul, Foye, Mo, etc., gone, so he’ll need to regain his two-point touch. He’s also the worst rebounder in the group. Or maybe he plays with the best rebounders. Without checking, I’ll predict that the trio of Big Al, Millsap and Favors have the highest rebounding rate of any of the first three in a 4/5 rotation on any other team those five played for. (Smith was primarily a 4 at Atlanta anyway.) Some of it could be attributed to how much defense he plays on the outside compared to the others. Hayward was on of the Jazz’s best perimeter defenders and would therefore usually be 20 feet away for the missed shots.
I was surprised to see where Hayward’s assists fit with the others. That number’s going to go up this year. He’s also going to start every game.
Hayward ranked 3rd of 6 in win shares for this group, 2nd in WS/48 behind Gallinari. Most importantly, Hayward is the youngest of this group.
To pay Hayward as much as Favors would be to say that you expect these guys to be the second and third best players on a championship team. They can be the two best guys on a lottery team, and that’s what they’ll be this year. But, to give Hayward as much as Favors, if not more, is to say that the Jazz expect they can land a max-deal game-changing free-agent next season, and/or maybe draft the next Kevin Durant in 2014. Those will be the main pieces they need to contend for a championship. Not fingers-crossed for the second round, but championship. If the Warriors stay healthy, Iggy’s their second-best player and they’ll be contenders. Gallinari is arguably the best player on a Nuggets team that’s almost guaranteed to be a first-round exit.
Personally I think Gordon Hayward is worth about the same as Derrick Favors. Anything from $10 to $13 million a year would be right. $14-$15 million a year? Overpaid.