Gordon Hayward Talks About Comeback

Gordon Hayward hasn’t regained the All-Star form he had in Utah, but he’s urging Celtics fans to be patient as he works his way back from an injury that cost him all of last season, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

Hayward is averaging 10.6 PPG through 31 games, roughly half of where his scoring average was in his final year with the Jazz. The Celtics were expecting the All-Star numbers he put up in Utah, but a horrific ankle injury on the first night of the 2017/18 season put him out for the entire year.

“With each game, I get more comfortable playing with the guys,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing, you gotta be able to have that experience with them on the court, to kind of know who you’re with, know who you’re playing with, just to know what everybody likes to do, try to maximize their strengths. Sometimes that’s running the break, sometimes we have a lot of ball handlers, so that’s just getting out on the wing and getting something easy at the rim.”

The Celtics have undergone major changes since Hayward signed with them in July of 2017. They traded for Kyrie Irving a few weeks later, then Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown emerged as important contributors while Hayward was injured.

Boston’s depth has resulted in Hayward accepting a bench role after starting the season’s first 15 games. Instead of being an integral part of the offense, he has become a complementary player who puts up occasional scoring bursts, as he did Saturday in a comeback win at Memphis.

Hayward has improved from month to month, averaging 11.4 PPG in December while shooting 38.1% from 3-point range. He may become even more important to the team by playoff time, but much will depend on how his body responds to the rigors of his first season since the injury.

“It definitely required a lot of patience, even still,” he said. “I’m still finding my rhythm. Like I was saying, with knowing who I’m out there on the court with, what I’m going to be asked to do, and what the team needs me to do. Patience is a good word for that.”

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11 thoughts on “Gordon Hayward Talks About Comeback

  1. Guest617

    surprisingly gordon forgot he was a brilliant shooter – hopefully he figures it out and regains his touch

  2. bennyg

    31 games…. long enough to start to gel with the players and have your rhythm back.
    Perhaps Boston has too many shooters and leaving Utah was a mistake.
    Anyways, you’re a peacock, you need to fly young man!

  3. Zero points with 0/6 shooting in 21 mins against Spurs. I think it might go deeper than just chemistry.

  4. hill

    His struggles have absolutely nothing to do with “gelling.” The C’s turned over what, 9 players last year? And they were great.

    It’s 100% physical with Gordon. We all see it. Can’t separate. Can’t finish. Can’t get any lift and explosion. Can’t defend quicker players. Can’t leap for rebounds. Doesn’t have the legs on his deep jumper.

    It’s not a mystery.

    • z3rogs

      Agree on GW having severe physical limitations this year. He seems to cringe/shy away from explosiveness, looking for finesse or a fade away instead of finishing.

      But what about turning over 9 guys? The same team is back, albeit healthy.

  5. east333

    We also don’t know if this was the product they were already going to get last year too. Like mentioned before they have a ton of shooters. He might not ever average more that 15 a game at this pace.

  6. As I mentioned previously it will take him until April at least to regain his physical condition, if he ever can go back to the player that he was. So people should be patient with him & start evaluating him from April onwards, doing it now it is unfair to him.

  7. zachary08

    Injury, with that magnitude, takes extended time to recover. Give the guy a year

  8. Jeff Zanghi

    I think it’s a little bit odd he’s kind of trying to make excuses for himself here. I mean the issue really isn’t him having to “learn how to best fit in with the guys on the floor” — the issue is he’s blatantly playing as a shell of what he used to be, physically. Hopefully as more time goes by and he builds up his strength and confidence he’ll come around — hopefully… but in the meantime I’d suggest he not come up with any more odd excuses and just work hard and keep his head down until he builds back up to full strength and speed.

  9. His game has always relied on being a plus athlete. It kept him on the court and allowed him to develop pretty good skills across the board. He’s barely a baseline athlete right now. IMO, that’s his real issue. Even with his savvy, he can’t fall back on his skills and be anything more than an average rotation player.

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