Drafting the NCAA Tourney: Butler's Gordon Hayward

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We all love the NCAA tournament, but as NBA fans we watch it with a different eye — who is going to be coming out of this showcase and on to the NBA. This is part of a series looking at future NBA players you should watch this weekend.

Certainly there is no reason to really break down Gordon Hayward and his game, because we’ve all seen Butler so much on national television and…

No, we haven’t seen them either. Heck, I and to look up where Butler is (Indianapolis). But Hayward is projected by DraftExpress as a first round pick, and you can catch him tomorrow afternoon against UTEP. (My father’s alma mater, I told him I picked UTEP because of that in my pool. I lied.)

What are we looking for with this 6’8″ combo forward?  DraftExpress.com’s Assistant Director of Scouting Joe Treutlein lays it out for us in comments exclusive to ProBasketballTalk:

Gordon Hayward is an interesting guy in the late first round, and could provide huge value to a team with a system his skills are well suited for. Hayward has a very high basketball IQ, is a deceptively good athlete, and has outstanding shooting mechanics with NBA three-point range. His percentages from three have fallen off considerably this season (down from 45% to 30%), but he’s still near elite from the free throw line (84%) and there’s little reason to believe his shot won’t come around eventually. He’s also a surprisingly good finisher around the basket, due primarily to excellent body control and coordination. Hayward’s biggest problem will be defensively, where his lateral quickness is subpar for a SF, but not worse than players like Danilo Gallinari or Hedo Turkoglu.”

Sounds like the kind of guy San Antonio always picks up late in the first round (or early second) then has the fans of the other 29 teams saying six months later, “why can’t we find guys like that in the draft?” 

Chris Paul, after breaking finger, intends to play in Clippers preseason game tomorrow

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Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.

The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.

Here’s confirmation.

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:

Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.

Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.

Report: David Lee, Tyler Zeller in line to start for Celtics; Jared Sullinger, Jonas Jerebko out of rotation

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 08: David Lee of Boston Celtics attacks during the friendlies of the NBA Global Games 2015 basketball match between Real Madrid and Boston Celtics at Barclaycard Center on October 8, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.

It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.

That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.

Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.

Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.

I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.

This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.