So yeah, I haven't been putting up NYMPP's for John Wall and Evan Turner. If you don't know about them already, get out from under your rock house listening to Rock n' Roll eating rock candy in Rockville, Maryland and find out. At RU, we go hard (or at least me and Scott do, Jon is kind of a softie) and Lazar Ha
yward is as hard as it gets (see?). After spending most of his college career as a 4 or a 5 in 3-guard lineups for Tom Crean and Buzz Williams, Hayward, a natural wing player, has become more versatile by necessity.
Sinbad Memorial Skill Set: Coming out of Notre Dame Prep in Mass. (with guys like David Gonzalvez, Michael Beasley, and Kim English), Hayward was billed as a wing player with a knack for scoring. Because of the undersized guys around him, he's had to play down low almost the whole time at Marquette, developing into a nice rebounder, especially for a guy at 6'5. His combine results came out better than expected with a 7'0.25 wingspan and a 15 on the bench press, among others. The down year in FG% could be a concern, but if you think about the guys they lost his senior year, he had to take on a bigger role than is suited for his abilities (4th in the nation in FGa/40).
UPSIDE: As a mediocre athlete at the 3 without much handles, Hayward doesn't have the highest ceiling. But because of his unique position and ability to adapt to a new role (I feel like this is a V.O. for Animal Planet), the Czar has a good shot at making it as a bench player. He can cover 3's and 4's but neither of them fantastically. I see him as a Stephen/Joey Graham (who can remember which) with better shooting touch and less athleticism. I can't help but think a few stints on the D-League are in his future, so get used to him.
As you might've heard, Marquette changed its nickname several years ago. For years and years, we'd been the Warriors, but then, about fifteen years back, we became the Golden Eagles. The change really bothered some alumni and, as a result, some old-timers still insist on referring to our players as "Warriors." Usually, this habit irks me. But, with Lazar Hayward, I can't think of a better description.
For four years, Lazar played out of position and, for the most part (playing with Dom James, Jerel McNeal, and Wesley Matthews), out of the spotlight. Lazar's size and skill set are more suited to a two-guard or a small forward, but he played the four -- and, at times, the five -- during his career at Marquette out of necessity. And he never said 'boo' about it: he put his head down, picked up his lunch pail, and went to work. Over four years, he's shown he can guard everyone from seven-foot centers to shooting guards. Despite his size (6'5", on a good day), he's a capable rebounder. He's not one of those jaw-dropping athletic types, but he's got good lateral quickness and decent hops. Probably most important, going forward, is his shooting range. Lazar was Marquette's primary three-point threat for the last three years, and, although he's prone to taking some head-scratchers, he filled that role very capably. He's a good spot-up shooter, can get his shot off in a hurry, and showed he can hit the NBA three on occasion. If he can stroke that shot with some measure of consistency, I think he's got a place in the league.
Lazar's handle is really the only concern. At some point during this past season, most Marquette fans said to those around us (or to no one in particular): "Lazar, don't dribble so much!" It's Glenn-Robinson-in-the-open-court-esque (and that's not a good thing), and he struggles to create his own shot off the dribble. It's just not part of his game, and, absent a ton of work, I don't know that it ever will be. Aside from that, though, I think Lazar could be a dependable bench guy in the Association.
Looks: While he looks less like a Lazar than anyone I've ever seen, I can dig the headband look for him. On some it looks out of place (paging Mr. Chism), but he makes it work like Tim Gunn. I know for a fact the slick Marquette uni's played a big role in his appearance and I'm not sure how he'd look in a Rockets jersey, but the kid passes the Mikey B looks test. He's a pro.
Favorite Broadway Show: Fiddler on the Roof. Can you guess who he'd play?
Stay tuned next time for somebody else if any of the SB Nation sites I've emailed ever get back to me (I'm looking at you Carolina March).