Boston Celtics: What should Gordon Hayward’s expectations be for 2018-19?

NBA Boston Celtics Gordon Hayward (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
NBA Boston Celtics Gordon Hayward (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

We’ve all seen the horrific injury that Gordon Hayward sustained last season. It’s one of the most gruesome injuries I have seen in any sport. However, with Hayward now back, what are the Boston Celtics and Gordon Hayward‘s expectations for the upcoming season?

The Boston Celtics expectations for Gordon Hayward should be a bit tempered in my opinion. Hayward’s expectations need to be moderate too.

Hayward is anxious to make his mark on a team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals last season without him. Gordon Hayward is eager to get back to the All-Star level he was at when he was a member of the Utah Jazz. Hayward is also wanting to show that he is worth the huge $29 million a year salary that he currently has with the Celtics.

Even the future Hall-of-Famer, former Celtic great, Paul Pierce is on record about expectations for Gordon Hayward this season.

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"“The way this Boston team is constructed, it’s going to be real hard for him to put up big stats. I expect him to have a solid year, not an All-Star year. It’s going to take him some time to get his groove back.”"

Whenever an athlete comes back from a major injury there are some hurdles that they have to overcome.

The biggest hurdle in my opinion is not thinking about the injury while you are on the court. Any athlete wants their focus on the court or field. Hayward wants to be able to show that he isn’t hesitant about taking the ball to the rim or making a move off the dribble. He wants to show the fans that, but more importantly, he wants to show himself that he isn’t worried about re-injuring himself.

Brad Stevens will be able to use Hayward in a variety of different sets on the offensive side of the ball. However, Stevens won’t want to work Gordon Hayward to hard in the beginning of the season. Stevens will be cautious about over using his star swing man early on.

The work load that Hayward will have won’t be overly strenuous. As the days, weeks, and months pass Coach Stevens will increase the work load though.

Many pundits surmise that by the time the playoffs roll around, the injury for Gordon Hayward will be a distant memory. When I see Hayward take it to the rim with authority, get knocked down, and then get up I will feel much better. I’m sure Hayward wants the contact too. Taking a hard foul will be something that will tell Gordon Hayward that he is completely back mentally from the injury.

What about Gordon Hayward’s ability to mesh with this loaded line up of the Celtics?

Nobody expected that Jayson Tatum would be this good, this early. The jump in Jaylen Brown‘s game took an exponential leap in his second year. Kyrie Irving will be coming off a knee injury as well in a contract year. Al Horford will need to make his presence felt down low.

Remember, there is only one ball.

When Gordon Hayward came to the Celtics he was averaging around 21 points per game, he was the center of the offense, and he was an All-Star.

Now, Hayward is on a team that is loaded. When you put the likes of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Terry Rozier together you have a great team. Add in Gordon Hayward and you have a great championship contender.

With the Celtic offense predicated on ball movement, pick and roll, and back door type of cuts Hayward should fit in with his talented teammates really well.

The help that Hayward will provide on offense will only benefit a team that was 20th in the NBA in offensive scoring at 104.0. It was not a good year on offense for the Celtics.

I expect Gordon Hayward to average around 17-20 points per game this season. Hayward will spend a good portion of training camp and the first part of the season figuring out where he fits in with his teammates. The rest of the team will also be wondering where they fit in with Hayward.

Boston is a defensive-minded team, but when healthy the Celtics can go basket for basket with anybody in the league. Hayward has the potential to take Boston to another level. Gordon Hayward will be able to work within Brad Stevens system to get easy buckets. Lets not forget that Coach Stevens and Hayward have worked together before in college. Being familiar with the schemes and sets will not be an issue for Hayward.

Finally, Gordon Hayward and the Boston fans will need to show some patience when dealing with his return to NBA basketball. Hayward has shown a ton of human emotion as he has had to deal with this type of injury. He has shown patience with all of this and now he has just about reached the end of the rainbow with this injury.

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Gordon Hayward has the grit and determination that you would want out of anybody player on a NBA roster. If patience can be showed a little bit longer for Hayward with him getting back into NBA shape the possibilities are endless for the Boston Celtics.