The Boston Celtics surprised people as they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. They played the entire season without the newly acquired Gordon Hayward. All eyes will be on Hayward as he returns from a horrific injury he suffered just five minutes into his Celtics career.
The addition of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward was supposed to take the Celtics to the next level. Hayward got injured, Irving missed the playoffs and the Celtics still made it to the Conference Finals. Hayward is a guy who got better each season while in Utah, averaging a career high 21.9 ppg in his last season.
Hayward can do it all on the floor. He can shoot the 3-pointer, handle the ball on the pick-and-roll, he’s a decent defender, and he isn’t afraid to take the last shot. The Celtics roster is stacked and this should help Hayward become a more efficient player. He may take fewer shots but his percentages should go up across the board.
Celtic fans were robbed of their first season of Hayward. It will be exciting whenever he steps back on the floor. With whispers going around that Kyrie Irving may leave in the off-season, fans may back Hayward even more this season because he will be around for a few more years.
The growth of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will allow the Celtics to bring Hayward back slowly. He may not finish games in the beginning of the season as they manage his minutes. However, by January a closing lineup of Irving, Tatum, Hayward, Brown and Horford could be devastating for Eastern Conference foes.
This season is all about returning to form for Gordon Hayward. He may not recapture that All-Star form while voting is going on but if he can get back there in the playoffs it will be a successful season. Hayward should face no setbacks this season and if he puts up 18 ppg, 50% fg, 37% from 3-point while playing in 70+ games will be a good season for Celtics fans.