The Charlotte Hornets have recently won three straight games over the Atlanta Hawks, Oklahoma City Thunder, and New Orleans Pelicans respectively. They have finally started to trend in the right direction. A lot of that credit can go to the two crucial veteran additions of Isaiah Thomas and Montrezl Harrell. They have helped this young team settle down on both sides of the ball. Having vocal leaders makes one heck of a difference. When Gordon Hayward was healthy, this team was trending upward. Without him, the Hornets are 9-13.

If he can return in time, Hayward can correct a lot for this team, but here are the three things he’ll impact right away.

Half court offense

The Hornets are a team that focus primarily on transition offense. They get easy buckets around the rim or wide open shots around the perimeter. However, that can’t be the main source of offense, defenses will make adjustments and attempt to slow down the tempo. This is where Gordon Hayward excelled at.

He would be one of the focal points in half court sets. Whether he was creating his own shot, or playmaking for another, he usually seems like he is in control in any half court situation. He is probably their most polished offensive player and it’s showed. He is a three level scorer and smart player the Hornets have needed in the Hornets rough stretch of games.

Leadership

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Again, Isaiah Thomas and Montrezl Harrell have done a great job leading this team. Both guys have been vital bench pieces that can really help this team win some games down the stretch of the season. Time and time again young players on the squad have highlighted how vocal both guys have been. Gordon Hayward isn’t exactly the most vocal guy, but his play is enough for the young guys to follow. When he plays, everyone on the floor is better on both sides of the ball. The young fellas are seeing someone who pays attention to every small detail. They have struggled to win games without him because his production has been missed.

Sure 16 points a game doesn’t jump off the page, but it his presence alone is everything for this team. If they can get him back in time for the postseason push, they can give any team they are lined up against a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, that is to be determined when we will see Gordon Hayward on the court again.

Closer 

There is just somethings you can’t teach. Two of those things, being poised, and clutch. Hayward had both in spades. Terry Rozier is probably the name that floats to the top of most people’s minds, but Hayward should be right up there with him. He might not hit the go-ahead basket to tie or win the game, but he makes all the little plays. Whether that’s the pass leading to the bucket, or the screen, he is always involved somehow. He has a hand in pretty much every game winning play on both sides of the ball.

Overall, Gordon Hayward is just a smart basketball player. He can bring value to nearly any of the other 29 franchises in the NBA. The Hornets are lucky that they were able to nab a player of his caliber a few years back. A former All-Star, a guy with playoff experience, and someone who has been a team with 50 plus wins. Hayward is a key cog in what the Hornets want to do every night they step onto the floor.

Hopefully, Gordon Hayward can return to his team soon and as close as possible to his top form.