The Boston Celtics were the favorites to win the Eastern Conference coming into the season. Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving were back with 4 healthy functional legs. But if the playoffs were to begin today, Boston would be the 6th seed with their 9-8 record.
They are barely floating above .500 with what many believed was the best starting 5 and most deep roster. Yikes.
Their starting 5 of Kyrie, Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford is producing 90.8 points per 100 possessions which is the second-worst scoring output by a lineup of 5 in the entire league.
All those scorers and no one can score.
Recently, Boston has replaced Hayward in the starting lineup with Aron Baynes. Not great for the Hayward brand that the team needed more offense and benched him for Aron Baynes. But it’s not like Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum are lighting the world on fire out there either.
So should Gordon Hayward come off the bench?
In 27 minutes a game, Hayward is averaging only 9.8 points per game. In Utah, Hayward was the primary ballhandler and now he’s on the Celtics where literally 7 -8 guys all think they should be taking every shot. Try to tell Marcus Morris or Marcus Smart to stop shooting. They’ll shoot twice as much out of spite.
Here is the positive to benching Hayward: The Celtics are have outscored opponents by 15.9 points per 100 possessions when Hayward has played alongside Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier. Hayward seems to more comfortable away from Kyrie and Tatum. Same.
Interesting move for the Celtics to give a max contract to their 7th man. Perhaps Danny Ainge isn’t the genius we thought he was. Turns out you can’t collect all of the draft picks because, at some point, they’ll actually want to play basketball. Who knew?
I think everyone and their mothers are waiting for Anthony Davis to hit New Orleans with a ‘trade me or I’ll turn into Jimmy Butler‘ and when that happens, the Celtics will have the most to throw at the Pelicans.
So yes, Gordon Hayward should come off the bench if it helps the team win in the short team because he’ll be playing in New Orleans before he even gets a chance to get back into the starting lineup.
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