The NBA is filled with some of the most unique and versatile players in professional basketball. There are guards that can shoot, big men with feathery jumpers, and everything in between. These variations in height, weight, shooting ability, and play style make for interesting comparisons among top players. Of course, these comparisons aren’t cut-and-dry. There’s no exact science to determining who has a better shot or is a better defender. Below are two NBA player comparisons between Gordon Hayward vs Paul George. Let’s dive into their similarities and differences as basketball players to see if you can tell which player plays each position in this article.
Who is Gordon Hayward?
Before diving into a comparison between Hayward and George, it would make sense to get to know Hayward himself. The 27-year-old has been a fixture in the NBA since the 2012-13 season. Hayward was a star player at Butler University and was drafted ninth overall by the Utah Jazz, who he played for until this past summer when he was traded to the Boston Celtics.
Hayward has been a reliable chain-mover and spot-up shooter throughout his career. He’s hit on 36.0% of his three-point shots since coming into the NBA. Hayward is also a strong rebounder for a wing player, averaging over five boards per game in each of his NBA seasons. Hayward’s versatility on both sides of the ball makes him a valuable player for any team.
Who is Paul George?
Another key aspect of any comparison between Hayward and George is to get a good feel for George’s game. The 27-year-old has been a mainstay on the Indiana Pacers’ roster since the 2010-11 season. George was a highly-touted player coming out of the University of Fresno State and was drafted 10th overall by the Pacers.
George’s game is well-known for his defensive abilities as well as his scoring prowess. He’s won three-straight gold medals in international play due to his ability to shut down opposing players. George is also a strong scorer, averaging above 20 points per game in all but one season in the NBA. George has built a reputation as one of the best two-way players in the league.
Gordon Hayward Vs Paul George: Position And Playing Style
Though these two players have completely different paths to the NBA, it’s likely that most people see Hayward and George as small forwards. Hayward is listed at 6-foot-8 and George is 6-foot-9. While Hayward and George are both versatile enough to play other positions, the small forward position is where they’ve made their biggest mark.
On the court, Hayward and George have a similar playing style. They’re both strong, athletic wings that can score in the paint as easily as they can hit from the three-point line. Hayward and George are also very versatile when it comes to passing the ball. They’re both exceptionally gifted defenders and can guard multiple positions.
Gordon Hayward Vs Paul George: Defense
Hayward and George are both excellent defenders. Hayward has made the All-Defense second team in each of the last two seasons, while George has made the All-Defense team three times in his career. While Hayward might be the better overall defender, George has the edge when it comes to guarding a specific position.
George is one of the best defenders at the small forward position. He’s quick enough to guard explosive guards, but he’s also strong enough to handle some of the best power forwards in the NBA. George is also a natural fit at the two-spot because he’s left-handed. Hayward is right-handed and is used to guarding small forwards.
Gordon Hayward Vs Paul George: Jump Shot
A quick look at Hayward and George’s jump shots shows that they’re completely different. Hayward has been a consistent shooter throughout his career, while George has shown flashes of his ability but has also struggled with consistency.
Hayward has shot well from inside and outside the three-point line. He’s a career 36.4% shooter from deep, which is extremely impressive for a 6-foot-8 player. George’s career percentages from the field are nothing to scoff at. He’s hit on around 37% of his shots from the field and over 36% from deep in his career.
The difference between their jump shots lies in consistency. While Hayward is extremely consistent and rarely has an off night from the field, George is hit or miss.
Gordon Hayward Vs Paul George: Standing
A big difference between Hayward and George is in their heights. Hayward is 6-foot-8 while George is 6-foot-9. While that one inch might not seem like much, it’s important to note. Standing is often a key aspect of defending and rebounding on the court. That one inch could be the difference between a rebound falling to the ground or being tipped out of the basket.
It could be the difference between getting a hand on a shot attempt or having it go right over your fingers. That one inch can turn possession into a two-point bucket instead of a three-point attempt. It’s something to keep in mind when comparing Hayward and George.
Similarities Between Gordon Hayward And Paul George
Now that we have a firm grasp of the differences between Hayward and George, let’s dive into the similarities. There are a few things that tie these two together. First, both Hayward and George are exceptionally talented players who have proven themselves in the league. Both have been named All-Stars and are unquestionably elite players.
Another aspect of Hayward and George’s games that is similar is their ability to score in the paint. Hayward and George have strong bodies that allow them to get to the rim at will. Hayward has averaged over six free throws per game in each of his last five seasons.
These two are also excellent from behind the three-point line. Hayward has hit on 36.4% of his three-point shots throughout his career. George is a 36.2% three-point shooter in his career.
The Bottom Line
Gordon Hayward and Paul George are both elite NBA players. Both have been named All-Stars, George has won three gold medals and Hayward has made the All-Defense second team. In many ways, Hayward and George are very similar. They’re both versatile wings who excel in the paint and from behind the three-point line.
They also both play excellent defense and have proven themselves as top players in the league. When it comes to comparing Hayward and George, there are a few key factors. George is one inch taller than Hayward and plays small forward, while Hayward plays shooting guard. Those differences are important to note when comparing two players as similar as Hayward and George.