As we all know, the Boston Celtics 2018-19 campaign was extremely disappointing for many different reasons.
The biggest one being that they fell very short of expectations, finishing with the C’s out of the second round of the playoffs with a whimper losing in five games to the Milwaukee Bucks. Beside the piss poor record there were also many individuals disappointments last season, from Gordon Hayward, to Jayson Tatum, and most notably Kyrie Irving.
The Celtics 2019-20 season has started much better than it did last year, and there’s one player that is most vital to making this team as successful as they’re capable of becoming. That player is Gordon Hayward.
Everyone unfortunately saw the brutal injury Hayward suffered two years ago, but everyone seems to forget the type of player he was before he snapped his leg in half.
Hayward was an athletic wing that could get to the hoop at will, dunk on you, and was lethal from outside. Last season we didn’t see much of that. We witnessed a less athletic, timid version of what he used to be.
That being said, Hayward is the piece that can make or break this Celtics team. He can hold them down, or bring them to the next level.
Hayward has an extremely versatile game that makes him so important. He’s skilled enough to bring the ball up the court and run the point forward. He’s adept enough from behind the arc and off the dribble to play off the ball. He’s big and strong enough to sometimes bang in the low post. Those attributes as well as his solid defensive play make him the productive piece of this group that no one expected entering the year.
There are many important players on the Celtics; Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, etc. None of which are the real X-factor to the Celtics succeeding. They’re all necessary pieces, but Hayward is the guy that needs to be the star for the Celtics.
Many people believe he is no longer what he used to be, dropping off from 22 points a game in 2016 to only 11.5 last season. That’s a significant drop off without a doubt, but it was less about his physical problems and more about what was eating at him mentally. Hayward was not confident in his abilities whatsoever, and you could see his timidness to go inside and jump in the paint. It clearly held him back last season and it ended up being his worst statistical run since his rookie year.
This season, in a very small sample size, Hayward has begun to look more like the player he was three seasons ago; scoring 17.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Although it’s such a small number of games, it’s still very encouraging to think that he could keep those numbers up over an 82 game season what this Celtics team could be.
Hayward is the Celtics most important piece, he can play four out of the five positions on the court, and is as efficient as they come when he’s on his game. This will be Hayward’s emergence back to stardom this season, and that is why the Celtics will win 55+ games and make a deep run into the playoffs.
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