Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets need Gordon Hayward’s leadership

gordon hayward lamelo ball and pj washington standing next to each other
Photo by Mark J. Rebilas -- USA TODAY Sports

Although LaMelo Ball receives significant media focus, and he deserves it, the Charlotte Hornets need Gordon Hayward’s leadership to experience success. Hayward is entering his thirteenth year in the NBA. He has the most NBA experience on the team. Without question, Ball is the most talented player on the team. Ball is entering his third year in the NBA. For twelve years, Hayward has demonstrated he can score (averaging 15.6 points for his career), pass, defend, and rebound. Gordon’s toughness is his most underrated attribute.

Charlotte Hornets Need Gordon Hayward’s Leadership to Experience Success

If you watched the gruesome injury Gordon Hayward sustained as a Boston Celtic in 2017, you know how tough it was for him to return from it. The Hornets have talented players. What is missing from the team, however, is toughness. The team does not exhibit the physical play necessary to do much better than it did last season. Hayward’s toughness, his physical play, is conspicuous.

Gordon knows that physical play is essential to achieving success in the NBA. With twelve years of NBA experience, he has proven leadership. Even though many believe the Golden State Warriors have won their championships by simply employing finesse, this thought could not be further from the truth. Draymond Green and Kevon Looney, to name two players, consistently deliver the pain, the physicality, the team needs to wear down its opponents.

With training camp three weeks away, the Charlotte Hornets need Hayward to assert his leadership more. Specifically, he must encourage his teammates to be more physical. The Hornets must develop into a more physical defensive team.


Improved Defense is Crucial to the Team’s Success

Although building a robust relationship with LaMelo Ball and making kind remarks about him are necessary, Steve Clifford should devote as much time to his most experienced player, Gordon Hayward. LaMelo Ball can become an even better player when Hayward starts employing his experience to teach and encourage Ball to concentrate more on defense.

NBA 2K23 gave Ball a 72 overall rating for defending, which is a generous rating, considering a little lower rating would probably be more accurate. Hayward should urge his other teammates to concentrate on becoming more effective defenders and emphasize how crucial the intangibles are to success.

With Steve Clifford being a defensive-minded coach, one hopes to witness an improved defensive team. He must recognize that Hayward can function as an on-court defensive general, challenging his team to commit to playing exceptional defense.

Trading him would be a colossal mistake. Steve Clifford, therefore, needs to put trade rumors involving Gordon Hayward to bed. Such a distraction is counterproductive.

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