The Boston Celtics are widely considered the best team in the Eastern Conference, especially with LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason.
But can they actually reach the NBA Finals and dethrone the Golden State Warriors, who have won three championships in the last four seasons?
Gordon Hayward believes so.
“We’re going to try to win the whole thing. That’s what our goal is; that’s where our goal should be. We have the talent to do it,” Hayward said Thursday in an interview with NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely. “I think for us, it’s … hopefully we keep everybody healthy. For me, I’m going to be focused on training camp, getting through that first practice. It’s been so long for me to even be out on the court. I’m very excited about where we can go next year.”
Hayward suffered a gruesome leg injury in the Celtics’ season opener against the Cavs last October and missed the remainder of the 2017-18 season. But the Celtics still took the Cavs to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals despite the absences of Hayward and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.
With both players healthy, there’s no reason the Celtics can’t contend for an NBA title this season, especially given the emergence of their young players, like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. Boston also brought back Marcus Smart — the team’s catalyst — on a four-year contract reportedly worth $52 million.
“We’re running it back. We got just about everybody back and that’s really exciting for me,” Hayward told Blakely. “I had a front row seat to all the games. I had a chance to be around the guys. I didn’t get a chance to be on the court. For me to be able to play with them next year … Marcus Smart brings so much stuff to the table for us. He’s a winner. It’ll be fun to play with all those guys next year.”
Hayward and the Celtics have one goal in mind: Banner 18.
Thumbnail photo via John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports Images