Gordon Hayward is the most underrated star player in the NBA — at 19.7 points a game and the focal point of the Jazz offense, he is an efficient scorer carrying a heavy load in the Jazz on that end of the floor. He is the go-to guy on everybody’s pick as a breakout team this season (they also were last season until injuries did them in). He could be an All-NBA player this season, he’s on the cusp.
Except, now he’s going to miss some time to start the season due to a dislocated and broken ring finger on his left hand. Chris Haynes of ESPN broke the news, Jody Genessy of the Deseret News added to it, and eventually the Jazz sent out a press release confirming it.
The good news is that is off hand. The Jazz confirmed that it was the ring finger on his hand, and treatment options — including surgery — are being considered. Other reports said Hayward’s hand got caught up in a teammate’s jersey, which led to the fracture.
Six weeks means he will miss at least some of the start of the season (he will be re-evaluated in three weeks).
This is a setback for Utah, they will likely use a combination of Joe Johnson and Chris Johnson to fill in (maybe some small ball lineups with Alec Burks), but neither of those are the shot creators and threat that Hayward has become. The Jazz do have more stability and depth on offense this season after adding George Hill at the point (and getting Dante Exum back from injury), plus veterans such as Johnson who can step in and contribute now. But the Jazz need Gordon to make the entire thing work. He will be missed.
Plus, Gordon is in a contract year, so you know he wants to be out there.