White Guys Can Ball: Gordon Hayward Edition

Centimeters.

That’s how much different the angle had to be for Gordon Hayward’s fader from the short corner with 6 seconds left to go in, and give Butler the lead in the 2010 NCAA national championship game.

That’s how much different the angle on his half court heave had to be for Butler to win it as time expired.

Centimeters.

Gordon Hayward’s always been quiet on the court, with his fan bases following the same stereotype. Not that Butler and Utah don’t have raucous crowds, but they’re not necessarily known to scare opponents on sight.

Maybe Gordon’s been too quiet. Because most of us don’t know that he’s got more points than John Wall, Kawhi Leonard, Carmelo, Reggie Jackson, Paul Millsap, D-Wade, Lamarcus Aldridge, or Al Horford in 2015-2016. He’s averaging 20 and 5 this season and leading a young Jazz team towards a playoff berth. But when was the last time you heard about him? Where was the discussion on whether he should have been an all-star?

It wasn’t there. There was no conversation about it, and it’s difficult to understand why. Maybe because his fame fell centimeters short. Maybe it’s because the only time he recently made headlines was when he said he could beat Lebron 1 on 1 last year… in League of Legends. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because he’s a skinny white kid from Indiana, with swoopy hair and a baby face like a 15 year old pop singer.

To say that Hayward’s been overlooked because isn’t an overstatement, but I understand there are more important conversations that take precedence today. When you imagine a 6’8”, 230 pound basketball player averaging 20 and 5, don’t tell me that you think of a white guy from Butler. You think of Rudy Gay or Kawhi Leonard, you don’t think of a “Gordon”.

I was there in Indianapolis when Gordon Hayward fell centimeters short. And although he didn’t have the best complete game, there was no doubt who the best player on the floor was. Flash forward to 2016, and he’s 25 years old, with scoring averages going up each season. If Gordon Hayward’s not an all-star next year when he inevitably averages 22 and 7, maybe it will be time to bring that conversation to light.

Whenever you’re ready, I’ll be waiting.

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