When Gordon Hayward is playing well, the Boston Celtics play well. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. It seems pretty logical that when the team’s highest paid player is taking and making shots, it gives the team a better ...shot to win the game. But Gordon’s situation is anything but typical.
The Globe lays out the stats thusly.
When he makes at least half his shots, they’re 19-2. When he’s involved and aggressive enough to shoot it at least 10 times, they’re 18-6. When he makes at least two 3s, they’re 14-5. When he scores at least a dozen, they’re 20-4. The problem is that through 66 games he’s done none of those things more than 24 times. And in the five games before Golden State, he averaged 5.2 points on 31 percent shooting. He’s not yet the player he was — but at times he’s exactly the player the Celtics need.
Gordon seems aware of his importance to the success of the team - as he tells the Athletic.
“I think for everybody involved, it’s been a challenging season, for me individually as well as the team,” Hayward had said in explaining this up-and-down experience. “It feels like we can beat anybody in this league on any given night. It also feels like we could lose to anybody on any given night. So that’s where we’ve got to be able to, come playoff time, get those stretches where we’re not playing very good basketball out and really just be more consistent. We’ve had good moments. We’ve had tough moments. I think for us, we want to be playing our best basketball come playoff time. It’s a new season then, so hopefully we can be doing that.”
Mike Gorman seems to think that Gordon has turned a corner.
Mike Gorman, on @985TheSportsHub: "When Gordon Hayward hit that basket to win the Sacramento game, there was genuine enthusiasm on the bench, dumping water on him. They looked like a team. That might be one of the defining moments of this team."— Boston.com Celtics News (@BDCCeltics) March 13, 2019
He’s not alone in that assessment (however optimistic it may seem).
A. Sherrod Blakely is very optimistic about Hayward’s play lately.
It serves as a reminder that he’s not nearly as concerned about his ankle as he was earlier this season, bringing him closer to playing free of thought while relying more on his instincts as a player rather than his health or fitting in with his teammates or any of that other stuff that detracts from his play.
I am very confident Hayward has turned the corner and will continue to be an impact player for the Celtics between now and the postseason, which, if he continues to play close to the level we saw out West, will mean a long postseason journey awaits him and the Celtics this year.
Clearly a confident, aggressive, and productive Hayward would seem to go a long way towards giving the Celtics a chance to win every night out.