Knicks’ Coach Compares Gordon Hayward to Jimmy Butler, Says He Can ‘Make Other People Better’

Published 01/12/2021, 2:33 AM EST
Jan 2, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) passes the ball against Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward (20) during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports


Gordon Hayward has been an excellent signing for the Charlotte Hornets this season. Alongside new rookie LaMelo Ball, Hayward has helped lift up the Hornets’ franchise from their poor form over the past few seasons. Hayward has become the team’s franchise player, with consistently good performances.

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Tom Thibodeau wanted Gordon Hayward in New York

After the Hornets defeated the Knicks, New York’s head coach Tom Thibodeau spoke to the press. He praised Gordon Hayward for how well he has been playing for the Hornets. Thibodeau compared Hayward to Miami Heat’s All-Star Jimmy Butler and complimented him for making his teammates better.

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Jan 8, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Steven Adams (12) passes the ball in front of Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward (20) during the fist quarter at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

He said, “He reminded me of Jimmy Butler in that way in terms of his decision-making and ability to make other people better. And that goes a long way, I think, in terms of winning.”

Hayward was a target for many franchises going into the off-season. He made a surprising decision to opt-out of his player option with the Boston Celtics. The Knicks were one of the teams that attempted to sign Gordon Hayward to their franchise. However, Hayward ultimately signed with the Hornets, after a phone call with NBA legend and Hornets owner Michael Jordan.

Hayward silences critics at Charlotte

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Since joining the Hornets, Hayward has been in absolutely sublime form. He and LaMelo Ball have helped the Hornets attain a 6-5 record so far, surpassing expectations for their franchise. Hayward has averaged 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in his first 10 games for the Hornets. Right now, he is on pace to match his 2017 career-high in scoring, which he set with the Jazz.

Jan 2, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) drives to the basket against Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier (3) and forward Gordon Hayward (20) during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Hayward was excellent in the game against the New York Knicks. He scored 32 points, got 3 rebounds and 3 assists as the Hornets blew out the Knicks 109-88. This was especially impressive given how well the New York Knicks have been playing throughout the season so far. One can only imagine where they would be if they had Gordon Hayward on their team.

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Hayward has been able to silence a lot of doubters and critics since joining Charlotte. Many questioned why the Hornets would offer him such a large contract given his injury history. However, Hayward has shown that he has so far been worth the pretty penny the team paid for him. And if he continues to play the way he does, the Hornets can be a real problem in the Eastern Conference.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1167 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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