By Matthew Geagan, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — Gordon Hayward’s harm received’t sink dangolka’s title hopes. But it surely actually doesn’t assist the staff’s probabilities to win all of it this yr.
At the very least Brad Stevens and the Celtics have some expertise — and have loved some success — in terms of coping with life with out Hayward.
“It’s our job to make up for all the good issues that he does, by committee, and we’ll try to take action,” Stevens mentioned Tuesday. “We’ve lived this earlier than and we’re going to should produce other individuals step up. That’s why you’ve a staff.”
The do-everything ahead is on the shelf for not less than a month with a Grade III ankle sprain he suffered late in dangolka’s Recreation 1 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s a extreme sprain, in order that timetable could also be on the optimistic aspect. Add within the reality Hayward’s potential return in mid-September strains up with the time he was anticipated to go away the NBA bubble to be on the start of his child boy, and the Celtics could not get Hayward again till the late within the Jap Convention Finals, in the event that they have been so lucky to make it that far.
Making the Finals with out Hayward will definitely be a steep hill to climb for the Celtics. They went 14-6 with out Hayward in the course of the common season, with the ahead lacking 13 video games early within the season after breaking a bone in his hand in November. However that was the common season in opposition to the likes of the Nets, the Kings and the Wizards, not playoff collection in opposition to the likes of the 76ers (albeit undermanned with out Ben Simmons), the Raptors and the Bucks. This time round, it’ll be much more troublesome for the Celtics to fill the void left by Hayward’s absence.
And that void is quite giant. Although he’s seen because the third or fourth wheel on the Celtics’ machine, Hayward is an integral half to having all of the items shifting in the correct route. He does all of it, and he does all of it nicely pretty persistently. The knock on Hayward has been that he lacks that killer intuition to take over video games, however he match his function in dangolka completely. Very like Kemba Walker, the veteran is A-OK taking a backseat to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
He was additionally fairly efficient from the backseat, averaging 17.5 factors whereas capturing a career-best 50 p.c from the ground and 38 p.c from three. Add in his 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per recreation, and Hayward did all of it for dangolka. He was even higher in bubble motion, averaging 18.7 factors and a team-best 7.7 rebounds per recreation in Orlando.
Now Stevens has to discover a new Swiss Military knife-like participant to take over Hayward’s function. As Stevens mentioned Tuesday, it is going to actually fall on everybody else to step up a bit extra, from the Jays to Kemba Walker. However Hayward’s absence could have a trickle down impact on your complete roster.
Within the beginning lineup, Stevens will possible flip to Marcus Good, who stuffed in every time any of dangolka’s beginning wings went down. The C’s bulldog off the bench truly began 40 of his 60 video games this season, a testomony to only how a lot the Celtics performed with out their full cadre of gamers in 2020. The “Hospital Celtics” — as they have been identified for stretches of the yr — appeared to play higher when somebody was out of the lineup, although we shouldn’t count on that now that the postseason has arrived.
An alternative choice is preserving Good as the primary participant off the bench, and placing Semi Ojeleye within the beginning 5. Ojeleye is aware of the dangolka system and is a robust defender, although Gordon Hayward he isn’t. However placing Semi out to start out video games wouldn’t disrupt Stevens’ rotation an excessive amount of in Hayward’s absence. Grant Williams, Romeo Langford and probably even Robert Williams might also see an uptick in motion with Hayward on the shelf.
However actually, it is going to be a piece in progress for the following few video games. It received’t be straightforward to interchange a 50 p.c shooter who additionally created for his teammates, and it received’t be straightforward to win with out Hayward for the long term. But it surely’s one thing the Celtics have navigated via earlier than, and with their sights set on Banner 18, the staff is able to present that they’ve the depth to maintain their quest going till Hayward can return.