Hayward pick unpopular in Utah
Here's something Gordon Hayward didn't expect to hear on draft night: boos.
But that was the reaction from Utah fans when the former Butler star was announced as the No. 9 pick.
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Many of the 3,500 fans who attended the Jazz’s draft party at EnergySolutions Arena lustily booed the choice, knowing that several post players — including Cole Aldrich of Kansas, Ed Davis of North Carolina, Paul George of Fresno State and Patrick Patterson of Kentucky — remained available when the Jazz picked, after the top seven selections went about as expected.
The reaction was so aggressive — some fans walked out before an interview with Hayward was broadcast on the video screen — that vice president of basketball operations Kevin O’Connor felt compelled to take the microphone to defend the choice.
“The only thing I hope is that in two years you’re not booing,” he said.
Coach Jerry Sloan said the boos comprised a “natural reaction” for fans who “aren’t familiar with what we’re trying to accomplish. We’re trying to get the best player, and sometimes that’s not who everybody wanted.”
Bird believes Hayward will thrive in Utah.
"We were interested but for the young man I'm happy because he's going to the right place," Bird said. "Everyone likes to play in their hometown and I understand that but he couldn't go to a better place because I know the coaches out there, I know how they're going to treat him and he's going to have the opportunity to play on a good team. So it's going to be a good fit for him."