Will THE REAL Gordon Hayward Please Stand Up?

Celtics fans were disappointed about a great many things last season. One of the major issues was Gordon Hayward not fulfilling the promise we believed he initially had returning from a devastating leg injury on opening night, 2017. So much has happened since that fateful night in Cleveland, Ohio. The Celtics and the NBA as a whole is different. What remains is Hayward is still in Boston and while there’s been little talk related to his rehab. Many assume he is an afterthought, a shell of his former self. Maybe that’s true. But there is hope. It’s been 737 days since Hayward’s injury, 512 since his second surgery. Unlike last season, Hayward could dedicate a whole summer to rehabilitating his basketball skills and rebuild the strength in his injured leg.

We compare his injury to what Paul George experienced in 2014. While both instances are traumatic and acted as huge setbacks for both individuals and their respective teams, George had the benefit for an off-season to rehab. His injury occurred in August, two months before the initial season began. Hayward falling two months later changed the trajectory and rendered the comparison a little murky.

The Celtics last season made the gamble that it was worth losing games early on to rebuild Hayward because at full strength nobody could beat them. The bet did not pay off. If Danny Ainge and Co. could do it over, they’d probably hold Hayward out until after the All-Star break. But hindsight is always 20/20. Hayward was noticeably a step slower than his teammates and competition and worse, he came off as incapable next to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. An awful lot is riding on the Celtics ability to play their three star forwards simultaneously. You can’t hinder yourself by secluding one of them to a reserve role. Brown played good soldier last year and performed well. But the Celtics are better when he starts and is empowered.

Brad Stevens will once again walk the tightrope he fell off of a year prior in trying to bring Hayward back to speed, while not discouraging or taking away from his younger stars. Outside of coaching divas like Kyrie Irving, the one aspect of Stevens’ coaching that needs tweaking is how he manages egos and maintains trust. It’s no secret Brown chaffed at seeing his minutes reduced. And it’s not unknown teammates behind the curtain didn’t understand why the limping Hayward was given such a long leash compared to them.

What does the future hold for Hayward? Hard to say. Only way we’ll find out is by watching the Celtics play every other day and decide for ourselves.

Author: sailboatstudios

Hack. Amateur. Professional quitter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s