Bits from Gordon Hayward Interviews, 8/7
Did anyone with the team tell you what you have to work on this summer? What are you working on in particular?
Well, going into the off-season, I really wanted to work on, you know, my game inside the 3-point line, but not at the rim. So, a lot of mid-range finishes, working on floaters, off-balance, you know, leaners, shots that I should be able to take and hit and turn into the two points that I just haven’t yet in my career.
And you know, playing through some contact in that area as well, and making sure I can finish. So that’s something I’ve really been hitting hard this summer, and it’s gotten a lot better since I’ve started, and you know, I still have another month or two to work on it.
Are you ready for a larger leadership role?
Yeah. I mean, I think it’s about that time for, you know, Derrick Favors and I to step up and kinda take control of the reins. And you know, both of us are, I would say, kinda quiet, quiet guys, but you know, the management and the coaching staff have put a lot of responsibility in our hands, and asked us and challenged us to be more of leaders, and be more vocal.
And you know, me personally, I’m definitely ready for that. You know, it’s fourth, already the fourth year in the league, and it’s gone by really fast. But you know, I’m ready to step up and take on a new role.
Can you be a vocal leader?
Right. You know, I can, I’m, the thing is, is, you know, you gotta be who you are as a person, and I’m never going to be on the same level as Mo Williams. You know, he was a great, great vocal leader for us, and you know, I’m definitely gonna get better at it this year.
And I’m always gonna try to lead by example, and you know, that’s just how I am. I kinda let my play do the talking, but you know, there’s times at Butler where I really kind of stepped up and said things, and you know, I’m not gonna be scared to do that next year.
So, it’ll be a challenge, like I said, for both of us, but you know, sometimes you gotta make adjustments and get out of your comfort zone a little bit. And the coaches are gonna push us to do that, and you know, I’m ready for that. So it’s gonna be something that I’m gonna make sure I try to do everyday.
Do you intend to be in Utah for the long term?
That’s definitely my intention, yes. It, this is always a difficult thing to talk about. You know, we don’t really have the full say on where we want to play. You know, we kinda have a little bit to do with it, but at the end of the day, we can’t really control it.
You know, it’s all what the management wants to do, and where the, you know, the ownership, where they want to take the team, and the direction they wanna go. But you know, I love it in Utah, and you know, love the fans and them being there, and living in Utah. And so, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.
On what he’s heard about Karl Malone working out with Derrick Favors
I heard that Karl’s bashing him, man. I heard that it was really intense workouts. And you know, Fav kinda asked to work with Karl, I think he got everything he wanted and more from him.
So I think it was a good workout. I didn’t get a chance to see it, but from everything that I’ve heard, it was good for Fav and you know, that’s a guy you can definitely learn a lot from.
Have you talked with Alec Burks? What are his expectations for this season?
I talked to Alec when he was down in Orlando. And I told him that we need him have, we need him to have a great year for us. I mean, he’s another one where he can definitely fill it up, and just ultra-talented, and kinda been, I mean, been in and out minute-wise, as far as in the rotation, kinda out of the rotation.
And I told him this year, it’s not gonna be any question. He’s gonna be playing.*
* According to my sources, Gordon Hayward was suspended by Tyrone Corbin seconds after this part of the interview aired.
How did you find out about Jeff Hornacek’s departure?
[Hayward said earlier in the interview that he found out about Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap's departures on Twitter, and about Brad Stevens taking the Celtics head coaching job from a Jazz PR guy.]
He actually, I actually got a phone call about that, and you know, he called me up and said he was going to leave, and which I thought that was really cool of him to do that.
And he was kind of a mentor for me in not just basketball, but just life, you know? And he was great for me, and really appreciate everything he did while he was there, for us, and for me, and you know, I think he’s gonna be a great coach.
What are your expectations for this season?
Well, I think we’re definitely gonna surprise a lot of people this year. You know, everyone talks about how young we are, and you know, blah blah blah, but we’re gonna compete for sure.
And you know, I don’t take losing very well, so I know it’s gonna be a challenging year for us, but we’re gonna definitely put it all out on the line. And you know, we can run and gun and we’ll do whatever we can to win. So I’m excited about it.
Did you do anything awesome with your NBA paycheck this summer?
Well, I was able to go to Europe on, like, a Scandinavian cruise with my family. And so, that was pretty cool to see, ’cause I’m, I got some heritage from there, that area, and that was something that I was, something that I think everybody should, if you have the opportunity, everyone just should go over there, ’cause that’s, like, if you can, if you get a chance to see kinda where you’re from and things like that, it’s, it was pretty cool.
So, we went to–where’d we go?–we went to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia. So it was pretty cool.
Did you get recognized?
I did. I did get recognized, a couple times. There’s some basketball fans throughout the soccer fans over there. (KALL, 1280)