Kyrie Irving might be the Celtics’ best player, but Mike Gorman isn’t convinced the All-Star point guard’s performance will determine how far Boston advances in the playoffs.

Instead, Gorman believes the Celtics’ NBA Finals hopes rest on the shoulders of Gordon Hayward, who’s had an up-and-down season after returning from a gruesome leg injury.

Gorman, play-by-play voice of the C’s, shared this opinion earlier this week on 98.5 The Sports Hub, according to’s Celtics Twitter account.

Hayward fractured his tibia and dislocated his ankle roughly six minutes into his Celtics debut last season. He missed the remainder of the 2017-18 campaign, going through a lengthy rehab process, and hasn’t looked like the same All-Star-caliber player since returning this season.

Hayward, even considered a liability by some critics, has shown signs of improvement recently, though, suggesting the former Utah Jazz standout could make a major impact down the stretch and in the postseason. It’s up to coach Brad Stevens to find the perfect rotation and put players in position to succeed.

The Celtics advanced to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals last season without Hayward and Irving (who suffered a season-ending knee injury), but they’ll likely need all hands on deck this time around. The East is far more competitive, making the road to the Finals even more daunting.

The Celtics entered Thursday with a 41-27 record, good for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

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Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images