Gordon Hayward will either elevate or disrupt the Boston Celtics’ championship aspirations
The game was also both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward’s debut in a Celtics’ uniform. For Irving, it was his return to Cleveland (who he requested a trade from in the offseason), and, for Hayward, it was his return to being under the direction of head coach Brad Stevens – who he played under at Butler University.
The game began. Three-to-four minutes in, it was a competitive game between the two teams who many expected to face-off in the Eastern Conference Finals. Then, tragedy struck. Just over five minutes into the game, Hayward went up for an alley-oop, came down awkwardly, and broke his left ankle.
The game stopped for several minutes as the All-Star forward was helped off the court. Players and teams felt for both Hayward and the Celtics. And some felt their season was over.
Instead, the Celtics went 55-27 and were the second seed in the East. Although, they lost to the Cavs in a heartbreaking Game 7 loss at home in the Eastern Conference Finals, the season was viewed as a remarkable success. So, with Hayward and Irving (who missed the playoffs with a knee injury) coming back healthy for the 2018-19 season, will the Celtics reach the NBA Finals?
While the idea that Hayward and Irving’s return make Boston a lock to reach the Finals sounds nice, it’s no certainty. In fact, Hayward’s return will either elevate or disrupt the Celtics’ championship aspirations.