It might not be long until Gordon Hayward rejoins the Celtics.
Hayward, who sustained an ankle injury in Boston’s 2020 NBA Playoffs opener, apparently has been progressing nicely. The veteran forward’s game status also changed ahead of Game 2 against the Miami Heat, as he was upgraded from “out” to “doubtful” for Thursday night’s contest.
Given the way Hayward was playing prior to his injury, one might assume his return would provide a major boost to the C’s. Kevin Garnett, however, doesn’t sound crazy about Hayward’s current fit with Boston.
“I love Gordon (Hayward) to death,” Garnett told USA Today. “I just don’t know where it fits in the growth of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. You have a trifecta, you know? And it just looks at times like he doesn’t fit or he tries too hard. It just looks like he doesn’t fit.”
Garnett continued: “…With him out, it’s a simplicity for Marcus Smart to come in and play a certain way. It seems like a simplicity for Kemba Walker to come in and play a certain way… Tatum. It just seems like a more simplistic system when those four, or those three, are kind of working.”
“I’m no coach or anything. I’m just an observer and I’m a student of energy or chemistry. And I’m just watching how that whole dynamic looks when Gordon is off it.”
Garnett’s assessment is a bit of a head-scratcher. Sure, Brad Stevens and Co. might have forced Hayward into the mix at times last season, but the 30-year-old seemingly has been in a groove for the majority of the current campaign. Hayward is an above-average ball-handler, which often comes most in handy for the Celtics when Stevens leaves him out to run the second-unit offense. The 10th-year pro also is capable of creating his own shot which, of course, is an invaluable skill in the NBA.
The Hayward-less Celtics will look to even their best-of-seven series with the Heat on Tuesday night. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images