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Hayward Returns


Five minutes. That’s how long Gordon Hayward’s debut season with the Celtics lasted. That’s how long his reunion with college coach Brad Stevens lasted. We all know how it happened. The Celtics were coming out of a timeout and Brad drew up a play for Hayward for which he had drawn up a number of times. Stevens used to run the same backdoor alley oop for Hayward when they were together in Butler and Hayward used to run it all the time in Utah. It was usually a guaranteed two points. Unfortunately, not this time.

After the Kevin Ware injury (Ware the player from Louisville who had his bone sticking through his skin), the Hayward injury is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Maybe because it happened to my favorite player on my favorite but when they showed his foot on backwards I ran out of the room. It’s burned into my brain. Obviously I was upset that the Celtics title chances were gone but I was also concerned about Hayward and his career. Like I said he’s been one of my favorite players for a long time. I remember watching him his freshman year at Butler when I first fell in love with Brad Stevens. I watched a crazy amount of Butler games in those two years and was fully invested in that epic tournament run when Hayward came within two inches of making what would’ve been the most famous shot in Basketball history. I had dreams of Hayward wearing Celtic Green ever since then and then the Celtics hired Brad and in a few short years Hayward joined.

Hayward is back now and by all reports looks 100 percent which is exciting. You’re going to hear this a lot of the next few weeks about Gordon Hayward but people do forget how good he is. He was an All Star in the West and the best player on a playoff team that won a round. At his best he’s probably a top 25 player in the NBA. I don’t expect top notch Hayward for a couple months. He’ll be good, not great. He’ll probably take games off here and there. Again, this guy’s ankle was on backwards. He’s gonna need to time to shake the rust off.

Basketball wise I expect him to take some of the ball handling duties from Kyrie and allow Kyrie to play off the ball more. Kyrie is one of the best stand still shooters in the league and this year I expect him to get more wide open looks because he won’t have the ball in hands so much. Hayward can handle the ball because he’s so versatile and let Kyrie come off screens for easy looks. I expect the starting five to be Kyrie, Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Al Hortford. Like I said, there will be times where Hayward looks slow and rusty but I expect him to be back to full Hayward in the second half of the year and into the playoffs. And finally accomplish that goal of winning a championship with his college coach. 


People say the Celtics didn’t make any big moves this off season but they did. They added a former All Star in Hayward and another in Kyrie Irving. We all remember how good the Celtics were last year and into the playoffs, Game 7 vs Cleveland notwithstanding. Imagine adding two All Stars to that? The Celtics should the head of the Eastern Conference this year. They are loaded. They go about ten players deep. With Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis, and Marcus Morris. That’s a bench of guys that would be starters almost anywhere else. Can Brad figure it out and keep everyone happy? Probably, he’s a genius. The countdown to opening night is on. Let’s go.

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