The NBA Rumors mill is in full bloom as we head into the Free Agency period. With the news that Blake Griffin will resign with the Los Angeles Clippers, and Paul George traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, it only makes sense that Gordon Hayward signs with the Clippers. Chris Paul is gone, however, Patrick Beverley can ease some of the pain. What the Clips need is another scorer to take the pressure off Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and Hayward is just the guy.
Hayward was a 20+ point scorer for a Utah Jazz team who won 51 games but he didn’t have the talent that he can have in L.A. Derrick Favors is no Griffin and while Rudy Gobert has made strides in his game, Jordan is still more valuable on the blocks. With Beverley running the offense and hopefully the Clippers looking to more dynamic at the SG position by letting J.J. Redick go and possibly picking up a player like Tim Hardaway Jr, that will space the floor better for Hayward.
During the regular season when the Clippers had their Big 3 together it was more of Paul throwing lobs to Jordan and Griffin as Redick was parked at the three-point line. Their two weaknesses on the roster were the defensive effort from the 2-guard position and the lack of another perimeter scorer. As good as Griffin is– image how dangerous he and Jordan could be if they had a perimeter threat?
Beverley understands how to get the ball to a player in his sweet spot as he’s played with James Harden, so there will be no period of adjustment with him there. The offense will not have to change much but Doc Rivers will need to make sure to give Hayward the green light. Last season he shot nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc but his game is much bigger than that.
Hayward is a two-way threat. He’s great on the offensive end but he doesn’t get the respect he deserves on the defensive side of the court. He won’t stop Kevin Durant from scoring 25 points but he will make him work for every shot. Hayward is a pretty decent rebounder at 5 per game but with Griffin and Jordan, he will not have to chase too many loose balls off the rim.
Hayward will make the Clippers better. He may not have fans forgetting Paul that fast but he’s the type of guy that we call the ‘missing piece’ to a title.