Gordon Hayward’s progress is on the short list of most important developments of the offseason. If he can rekindle some of his stats from his days with the Utah Jazz then Boston becomes a legitimate threat in the East.
Last season reports emerged that some of the Celtics players weren’t thrilled with Gordon’s immediate insertion into the starting lineup. The young C’s went toe-to-toe with the best of the Eastern Conference and came up a little short. Players on the team felt Hayward didn’t earn those minutes. Moreover, Gordon’s contract dictated that he should start.
However, this year the Celtics are hitting the reset button in a way. And maybe the best way to get the old Hayward back is to ease him back into things and let him run the second unit. Boston does have back-up point guards, but none of them are as good as Terry Rozier. Apologies to Brad Wanamaker and Carsen Edwards. Handing Gordon the keys and letting him run a team might make him feel more comfortable. Additionally, it could help him get back to that aggressive mindset we’ve heard all about this offseason.
Hayward Not Part of Best Five?
It’s hard to envision the Celtics closing a game without Gordon Hayward on the floor. One of the biggest reasons why I, personally, love him is his ability to play any role and play with anyone. But, if he can’t return to his former self there is a scenario where he gets fazed out of closing lineups.
I think there are three locks for the end of games: Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart. The center spot I think will be matchup based. When they need defensive stops Robert Williams will step in. When the team needs offense I think you’ll see Enes Kanter. And then there’s Vincent Porier, who’s a wild card.
However, the last spot? That’s up for debate. It’s between Jaylen Brown and Hayward. And if Brown takes a leap forward this year he could make it hard for Brad Stevens to take him out of the lineup. This was a major topic on this week’s Celtics Beat. Adam Kaufman and The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn talk about this and MORE!
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6:49 Team USA experience is essential for Celtics
16:18 Celtics place in a wide open East
22:34 Is Brad Stevens coaching for his job?
33:29 Temper expectations for Gordon Hayward
47:17 Smart should start
53:23 Bill Fitch should have been inducted into the Hall of Fame