Why Paul Pierce Has Tempered Expectations for Gordon Hayward In Celtics Return

There were huge expectations for Gordon Hayward coming into last season.

The All-Star forward signed a massive contract with the Boston Celtics in the offseason, and was expected to form a powerful 1-2 punch with co-star Kyrie Irving.

But Hayward’s debut season in Boston was cut short when he suffered a gruesome ankle/leg injury five minutes into the season and has spent the last 11 months rehabbing to make sure he’s ready for the first game of the upcoming season. The Butler product recently declared himself basically ready to go, and while that’s good news, questions about his ability to return to his All-Star form still remain.

Celtics legend Paul Pierce, for one, thinks it will take Hayward time to get back up to NBA speed and doesn’t expect the forward to light things up this season, but believes he will have a “solid” campaign with the Green. Pierce voiced his expectations for Hayward on Friday’s edition of ESPN’s “The Jump.”

The Celtics will be the front-runners in the Eastern Conference this upcoming season. If Irving can stay healthy and Hayward returns to his superstar form, the C’s will be a hard team to topple. And even if Hayward struggles initially in his comeback, Boston has enough talent to weather any speed bumps in the star’s return.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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