Utah Jazz notes: Hayward wants to improve shot selection
NBA • Jazz swingman has seen 14 percent of his shots come from long 2-point range.
Published: December 19, 2013 10:21PM
Updated: December 20, 2013 04:58PM
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Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) takes the ball inside, as Houston Rockets shooting guard Francisco Garcia (32) defends, in NBA action, Utah Jazz vs. the Houston Rockets, at the EnergySolutions Arena, Monday, December 2, 2013.

Atlanta • It’s been called the worst shot in basketball.

A step or two back and it’s worth another point. Get closer and the chances of making it go up.

Gordon Hayward knows it. But a quarter of the way through the season, the Utah Jazz swingman finds himself taking too many long 2-pointers for his own liking, even.

“I definitely take way too many shots right there around the 3-point line that aren’t 3s,” he said. “I need to just step back or try to take it all the way, but a lot of times it’s just kind of what the defense gives me.”

Hayward has shot 413 field-goal attempts so far this year, and 14 percent of them have come between 20 feet and the 3-point line.

“He’s taking what the defense gives him and sometimes he has to take what he wants more,” Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. “He’s got to get that feel for what he wants and be more demanding of that.”

Still, Hayward’s struggles around the arc so far might be a wash. He’s hitting on 39 percent of his long 2s but only 26 percent from 3.

“I still haven’t shot the ball nearly as well as I know I can,” said Hayward, who battled back from some early shooting woes to score 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting in Wednesday’s win over Orlando. “… It’s just different shots I’m getting than last year. I think I’m rushing it, and then you start missing a couple and you start over thinking things.”

Burks on bench

Richard Jefferson’s minutes have been in decline. After playing 30 minutes a night in November, the veteran forward is down to 22 a game in December. A part of that has been the improved play of Alec Burks, who is averaging 16 points a game this month after putting up 10 a game in November.

Still, don’t expect Burks to crack the starting five just yet.

“Alec is doing a pretty good job where he’s at right now. We screwed him up earlier so right now we want to not mess with how he’s going,” said Corbin, who believes using Burks as a starter, and especially as a starting point guard, earlier this year caused the third-year player to struggle.

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz