"It would be really cool to accomplish something like that," Hayward said. "All-NBA is something I never thought I'd be able to achieve. But right now my focus is on what I'm doing with the team. I'm trying to go out there and get wins."
The answer is more than cosmetics. That's because Hayward would qualify for the new veteran designated player exception that goes into effect in July's new Collective Bargaining Agreement if he makes one of the three All-NBA teams.
Under the rule, the Jazz could offer him 35 percent of their salary cap, rather than 30 percent, if he earns the honor. Hayward likely will opt out of his deal this summer and become an unrestricted free agent, and it gives the Jazz an advantage if they can pay him more money and give him more years than their competition.
Hayward won't talk specifically about his impending status, but he did endorse the new rule when it was agreed upon in December.
"It makes it easier for teams to keep their guys," Hayward said at the time.
So, what are his chances of making All-NBA? It's significantly more difficult to garner than a berth in the All-Star game.
Hayward is having a career season, averaging 22 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. But he will have robust competition at one of the deepest positions in the league.
LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard appear locked in for first-team honors. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green will figure prominently, along with Anthony Davis.
Assuming those five take up forward spots on the three All-NBA teams (there is a small chance Davis could be classified as a center), Hayward would be in the mix for the final forward spot. He would have to beat out players like Chicago's Jimmy Butler, Indiana's Paul George and Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Hayward long ago earned respect around the league. But opposing coaches and players have gone a bit further this season. It has turned to admiration.
"He's gotten a lot better," Cleveland Cavaliers coach Ty Lue said. "He's always been a good player, a good two-way player who plays both ends of the floor. But this year, he's physically gotten a lot stronger. He's getting a lot of and-ones at the rim. He's dunking on people and finishing through contact, which he didn't do a lot before. I've always liked him. But he's put the work in and made himself a better player."
Each candidate has strengths and weakness outside of locks James, Leonard and Durant. Winning could work in Hayward's favor. The Jazz are 43-26 entering Saturday's game and are in control of the fourth spot in the Western Conference.
The Bulls, Pacers and Bucks all are struggling to qualify for the playoffs in the less competitive Eastern Conference. All three could qualify, but none of those three teams has approached Utah's success this season.