Gordon Hayward signing with the Celtics has been met with mixed reaction around the NBA. Most fans and media alike seem to think Hayward’s impact on the Celtics will be minimal and that Boston shouldn’t be talked about as one of the best teams in the NBA. This is all in spite of the fact that the Celtics were the #1 seed in the east last year and have added an All-Star and franchise player to their roster. Yes, Gordon Hayward is a franchise player. For proof just ask anyone in the Utah Jazz front office or just keep reading.
If you took the top player from every playoff team in the west last year, Hayward would probably be the least highly regarded amongst the common fan outside of maybe Mike Conley, and that should tell you something. Memphis and Utah are two of the worst NBA markets in the league. The teams have a small media presence and their slow styles don’t exactly draw in neutral fan interest. There just weren’t a lot of eyes on Hayward in Utah. Fans don’t know how good he is yet, but his stats are on par with the top players in the NBA.
Last season, only 6 players in the entire NBA had averages of 21 ppg, 5 rpg, 1 spg, on 47% from the field. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, ….. and Gordon Hayward. (per Basketball Reference)
Adding Hayward makes the Celtics a much better team than they were last year. Isaiah Thomas can take some of the defensive pressure off Hayward. He’ll see far less double teams than he did last year in Utah which will allow him to flourish on the court. Playing alongside top talent in one of the best basketball cities in the NBA, Gordon Hayward is about to put the NBA on notice. He’s finally in a market and on a team where he can show what kind of a player he really is. With their current roster, expect the Celtics to make a hard push for 60 wins next season and for Hayward to be in the MVP conversation by the end of the year.
Photo: (Sporting News)