Gordon Hayward Willing To Come Off Bench, But Celtics Unlikely To Change Lineup

by Joshua Schrock on Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 4:24PM

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

But Brad Stevens doesn’t think the Boston Celtics have reached that point just yet.

After losing four of their last five games, the Celtics now sit at 7-6 as they return home to face the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night at TD Garden.

The Celtics’ offense has been a disaster on all counts. Boston isn’t getting to the free throw line, isn’t getting to the rim and has seen its starting lineup fail to jell early in the season. The Celtics’ poor play has led some to believe that a lineup change is in order, with either Jaylen Brown or the rusty Gordon Hayward heading to the bench in favor of Marcus Smart or Aron Baynes.

Hayward has the worst on-court/off-court difference of any player on the team, with the Celtics owning a plus-9.3 rating with him off the court compared to a minus-3.8 with him on the hardwood. He is averaging 9.9 points while shooting 39.6 percent from the floor and 31.9 percent from 3-point range as he continues to work his way back from the gruesome leg injury suffered last season. His progression back to his All-Star form is important for Boston’s long-term goals, so it’s understandable why Stevens would be hesitant to move Hayward out of the starting lineup.

But Hayward is ready to do whatever it takes to help Boston turn things around.

“For me, I’m happy to be on the court, No. 1 more than anything and, No. 2, whatever I can do to help us win,” Hayward said Wednesday at the Auerbach Center, via The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. “I said it before the season, it’s whatever to me.

“We have to figure something out because for whatever reason we’re not playing our best basketball right now.”

Despite Hayward’s willingness to come off the bench amid Boston’s recent poor play, Stevens isn’t going to change it up just yet.

“I think ultimately, I’m going to let us have a chance to play better. I think that’s where we are. Hopefully, I’ll coach better and we’ll play better,” Stevens told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Zolak And Bertrand” on Wednesday.

With the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks playing well out of the gate, and the Philadelphia 76ers’ recent acquisition of Jimmy Butler, it is imperative for the Celtics to find a cure for what ails them soon.

Thumbnail photo via Steve Dykes/USA TODAY Sports Images