Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

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Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Post by bobheckler on Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:06 am

https://us.yahoo.com/sports/blakely-haywards-return-celtics-biggest-142502741.html



Blakely: Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor



NBC Sports Boston
August 8, 2018, 8:25 AM MDT




BOSTON -- There's no way you can look at the Boston Celtics and not be impressed with their depth.

We're not talking about a team with a solid starting five and some nice filler pieces.

Boston essentially has two different starting five-caliber lineups it can utilize on a nightly basis.

But for every team with legit title aspirations like the Celtics, there's usually one or two players whose impact will be a major factor in the team's success.

Boston has plenty of candidates to fall under that category, but none stand out more than Gordon Hayward.


An All-Star in his last season with the Utah Jazz, Hayward suffered a gruesome, season-ending ankle injury in just five minutes into his first year with the Celtics. How he re-integrates his game with his young, battle-tested teammates will be a major factor in Boston's quest to bring Banner 18 to Boston at the end of the season.

"I'm just about full speed," Hayward said last month in an interview with NBC Sports Boston, adding that he was planning to start playing five-on-five this month. "As with everything, see how my ankle reacts to that. So, I'll go and test it out and see where it is. I'm excited to get back on the court."

So are the Celtics, well aware that Hayward's return bodes well for their chances of coming out of the Eastern Conference and getting back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

With most X-factor types, it comes down to them elevating their game to a certain level.

For Hayward, it's all about getting back to a familiar pace that made him one of the more coveted free agents a couple summers ago.

And in choosing to sign with the Celtics and play for his old college coach Brad Stevens, Hayward became the most highly regarded free agent to ever sign with the Celtics.

However, as he sat out last season getting his body right, the Celtics moved right along and came within a game of getting to the NBA Finals.

His return, as well as that of Kyrie Irving (he missed all of the playoffs due to a knee infection) only strengthens a Celtics roster that was already deep with talent.

But when it comes to Hayward's return, what's a realistic expectation?

While many of the pieces from last season are still around, this is not the same squad he signed on with in 2017.

Many of the questions surrounding how talented was their young core of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier, have been answered.

Reflecting on their overall bodies of work last season, there's no question that each played a prominent role in Boston advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.

And that experience not only gives them added confidence heading into this season, but will allow Hayward to ease his way back into playing following a year off, as opposed to being counted upon from Day One to carry a heavy load.


Having already established himself in the NBA, there's no added pressure for Hayward to prove anything, to anyone other than himself.

Hayward has acknowledged the mental hurdles of getting back on the floor more than the physical ones, will prove challenging.

But having so many familiar teammates back that he had a chance to see grow before his eyes last season and who come into the season with similar team goals, will make Hayward's transition from spectator to playing, easier.

"We're going to try to win the whole thing," Hayward said. "That's what our goal is; that's where our goal should be. We have the talent to do it.

He added, "I'm going to be focused on training camp, getting through that first practice. It's been so long for me to even be out on the court. I'm very excited about where we can go next year."




bob
MY NOTE:  Our depth is unreal.  It took a phenomenal series by LeBron and poor 7th game by Rozier AND Brown to keep us out of the Championship last year.  With Kyrie AND Hayward, and with LeBron out of the conference?

I'm expecting a fair amount of rust early on in Hayward's game, he has only played 5 minutes in a real game in 15 months, but when that rust comes off?  Wow.  Brad can put Kyrie and Tatum and Smart (for defense and running the offense so that Kyrie can play off the ball)  on the floor together and Hayward and Rozier and Brown on the floor together and we can pretty much forget offensive droughts.



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Re: Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Post by wideclyde on Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:30 pm

I hope that Hayward can get back to exactly what he was in his last year with the Jazz, but even if he falls slightly less of his former level he will still help the Cs in many ways.

If he even does not start he will be a very solid player on a very deep team.

Can't wait for pre season starts and Hayward, Irving and Theis will ready to get started.

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Re: Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Post by bobheckler on Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:38 pm

Hayward is now dunking.  To be honest, it doesn't look very explosive to me, but he is getting up and that means he has confidence in his ankle on the landing.

Good news!

https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/1029095038792294400


bob


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Re: Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Post by worcester Yesterday at 9:30 am

He's dunking better than I ever could, which was never.
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Re: Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Post by gyso Yesterday at 10:54 am

worcester wrote:He's dunking better than I ever could, which was never.

I used to be great at dunks. Oreo cookies in cold milk was my favorite. Cool

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Re: Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Post by worcester Yesterday at 11:07 am

That was about my talent level too.
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Re: Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Post by RosalieTCeltics Yesterday at 5:35 pm

There will be some rust no doubt, but, I have to tell you, listening to Blakely sometimes you would think they are going to push him out in a wheel chair and work his way back from there. He is really hung up on Hayward and his future contributions.

That injury was horrible, but, I think he will be okay
and that Brad will know when to push and when to pull back. This is the beauty of this team, depth. This guy
is a pro, an all star, and I, for one, am convinced he
will come back at a good pace for him and the team There is no reason to rush him, but I am sure Brad will want him to feel that he is an important cog in the wheel of the Boston Celtics

I guess you can tell I cannot wait to see him on the floor.

Gyso, oreo's and milk...not donuts?????
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Re: Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Post by worcester Yesterday at 8:03 pm

The simple truth is Brad could wait until January before integrating Theis, Kyrie, and/or Gordon back into the lineup. We'd still have a good record and then be able to roar through the rest of the season. Our depth is quite a luxury when we have players returning from injury. That said, I bet they're all back by game 1.
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Re: Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Post by RosalieTCeltics Yesterday at 8:11 pm

That will never happen. I think they will be played low minutes, Hayward may not go right in as a starter, but I will not be surprised if they all want to get up to speed faster than they have to. Players of that caliber want IN as soon as possible.
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Re: Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Post by worcester Yesterday at 8:16 pm

Agreed.
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Re: Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Post by bobheckler Today at 1:48 am

Assuming everyone is healthy and ready to go @ the start of the season:

Starters:  Kyrie, Brown, Hayward, Al, Baynes.
Bench:  Rozier, Smart, Tatum, Morris, Theis.

OR, not quite ready but working into ready:

Starters:  Rozier, Brown, Tatum, Al, Baynes (the playoffs unit)
Bench:  Kyrie, Smart, Hayward, Morris, Theis.

OR Hayward is further ahead than Kyrie and you can replace Tatum in the first line-up with Hayward but leave TRo starting, or Kyrie is further ahead etc for plug-n-play.

This is the unbelievable, crazy depth we have.  You can play the starters that were a decent 4th quarter, LeBron (who is now gone) notwithstanding, away from winning the EC Finals and playing GSW for the Championship OR you can replace one or two of the starters on that team with one or two All-Stars and bring those playoff starters off the bench.  The bench in the 2nd scenario, with two All-Stars on it, could win 45 games (maybe more in the EC) and make the playoffs assuming they had a decent, not even great,  bench behind them.  Two All-Stars, or two playoff starters, off the bench.  Wow.

Every coach, every GM in the league dreams of this and then wake up and take a cold shower.


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