The Boston Celtics’ younger players really stepped up in the 2018 playoffs in the absence of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. But with the duo healthy for the 2018-19 season, they knew their roles would diminish.
Both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Brown, in particular, made their presence known last season — especially during the Eastern Conference finals against the then LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers. The C’s came within a game of the NBA Finals without two of their biggest players and were pegged as the East favorites heading into the new season.
But this season hasn’t exactly gone the way most expected. The Celtics currently sit fifth in the East heading into Thursday’s matchup against the Sacramento Kings and there’s been plenty of chatter regarding Boston’s locker room chemistry. Irving also has been the center of attention frequently with his comments about the younger players.
Hayward, who began the season as a starter but since has been moved to the bench, thinks the “uncertainty” with the younger players has led to some of his team’s struggles this season.
“I think to some extent it’s provided some uncertainty with roles a little bit,” Hayward said, via ESPN. “When you have guys that are supposed to be your main guys get injured, and have serious injuries and miss a lot of time, then other guys step up and play well, you’re going to have some uncertainty there. So I think that’s how it has affected us a little bit.
“But we’ve kind of started to figure it out now.”
The C’s just finished up a West Coast road trip in which they posted a 3-1 record and look to finish out the remaining 14 regular-season games strong en route to a hopeful lengthy playoff run.