The Boston Celtics had sky-high expectations surrounding them heading into the 2018-19 NBA season — especially with a healthy Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving back in the lineup.
But it hasn’t been the year many expected from Boston, and some even questioned Hayward’s play after he struggled to begin the year. He even was demoted to the bench. But Hayward’s confidence since has grown in the reserve role and he’s become an integral part of the bench.
And while he still isn’t putting up the numbers he’s expected to with each passing game, head coach Brad Stevens sees no reason to worry, noting the star forward is helping his team in different ways every night.
“You’re not going to always be able to judge yourself or have others judge you based on how many points you score,” Stevens said to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “There’s a lot of other things that you do in a game. So, if he has 16 one night but 10 the next or 6 the next, he could still be impacting the game just as much because he’s forced to be a passer, maybe he’s defending a different position, you know, who knows?”
Stevens added coming off the bench can be challenging, but believes Hayward has been consistent in the role.
” I think he’s been pretty consistent. … There’s going to be nights where those guys off the bench get more opportunity to shoot and there’s going to be nights where there’s not as much,” Stevens said, “and that’s one of the challenges of being in that role.”
Hayward has the ability to impact a game, as he’s shown multiple times this season. And if the C’s can get to where they were projected to before the season started, Hayward’s presence certainly will be needed.
Thumbnail photo via John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports Images
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