As the Celtics have struggled to find a groove even past the quarter-point of this NBA season, all eyes have been on Gordon Hayward. The former All-Star and Utah Jazz transplant was one of the team’s most highly-anticipated pickups before he suffered a season-ending ankle injury just minutes into the 2017-2018 season.
Since then, Hayward has struggled to get back to his peak form, even accepting a spot coming off the bench as the team looked for solutions to their disappointing record.
Well, something may have finally broken through for Hayward, who had a season-high 30 points on December 1st against the Timberwolves–by far the strongest overall showing since his debilitating injury last year.
In Thursday night’s game he showed more flashes of the old “G”, and had this beautiful fast-break play where he nabbed the rebound and dribbled quickly through traffic before effortlessly dishing the pass to Jaylen Brown for an easy 2 points:
The Celtics Need Hayward to Stay Consistent
Hayward is thus far averaging 11.2 points per game, but the Celtics will need a bit more from him if they hope to make a deep playoff run this year. The team (sans Hayward and Irving) shocked fans last year when they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, only to fall to the LeBron James-led Cavaliers. But the showing was so impressive that there was talk entering the current season of the Celtics going all the way.
So far, their postseason hopes haven’t seemed quite so lofty. The team currently sits in 6th place in the east, below the Pacers and Pistons, with a 13-10 record. This is definitely an improvement on their standing earlier in the season, where they hovered much nearer to the very bottom of the conference.
They’re on their way up now, and Hayward’s increasing efficiency certainly won’t hurt.