Utah Jazz Notes

Jazz shootaround: Joe Johnson says Gordon Hayward’s all-star experience can take his game ‘to a whole other level’

First Published      Last Updated Jan 28 2017 12:15 pm

Joe Johnson happily congratulated Gordon Hayward this week on his first all-star selection — and the veteran forward believes more could be on the way.

"It's a great feeling," said Johnson, himself a seven-time all-star. "It helps develop a sense of confidence. Then just being around a bunch of all-star caliber guys, it can take your game to a whole other level. Then you start to see yourself in that light and, next thing you know, the next three, four, five years you've been selected and now you're a six-time all-star. That's just kind of how it goes."

Johnson's first all-star game came a decade ago, when he was picked to replace the injured Jason Kidd for the 2007 game in Las Vegas.

"It was a moment I'll never forget," Johnson said at the Jazz's shootaround Saturday morning, "and I can remember everything so vividly."

The 35-year-old veteran said he hasn't yet given Hayward much advice on how to handle the experience.

"I obviously told him congrats and just to go down there and enjoy himself for the weekend," Johnson said. "It's going to be so chaotic. It's a busy weekend. We have a tendency to want to get some rest but, man, they're gonna have you here, there. So I think he's kind of putting his mind around it, but he's not going to understand it until he gets down there."

Hayward has averaged career highs in points (21.8) and rebounds (5.7) this season for the 30-18 Jazz, earning a spot as a Western Conference all-star reserve in the process.

"I think it's well deserved," Johnson said. "He's been playing great. We've been playing great as a team which helps out even more. With him being over here in the West, it's tough. He's well deserving."

— Aaron Falk