Celtics Fans Need to Start Appreciating Gordon Hayward

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Gordon Hayward is currently enjoying his best season as a member of the Boston Celtics.  On the surface, that's not saying much since this is only his third season, and his first season ended in the first quarter of game one.  However, if you take a look at the numbers, that statement holds a little more weight.

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Before last night's game, Hayward was averaging 17 points per game, a mark that is six points higher than last season.  He's averaging career highs in rebounds per game, free throw percentage and field goal percentage.  In his previous nine seasons, Hayward has never shot better than 50% from the floor.  He's currently shooting 51%, and we're more than halfway through the season.

Yet still, Celtics fans want to trade him.  The NBA trade deadline is today at 3:00 PM, and as trade talks start to intensify, and fans kick around hypothetical, and borderline ridiculous trade scenarios, Hayward's name is constantly brought up.  Despite all of the stats I just laid out, a certain faction of fans in this area cannot get past one number, his contract.
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My message to them.  Get over it.  Enough with the Hayward hate.

Is he worth the money the Celtics gave him three years ago?  No.  That's the nature of the NBA though; 85% of the league is overpaid.  Just because he hasn't replicated the numbers he put up in Utah doesn't mean he's not an important part of this team.

Hayward was "the guy" in Utah.  The offense ran through him.  That's not the case in Boston.  He's one of four legitimate scoring options.  He has truly found his role in this offense, and is starting to thrive.  When he, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker are all on the floor together, he's happy to take a backseat and let the game come to him.  He's not forcing anything.

On the other hand, when one of those three guys are out, Hayward has stepped in his game up in their absence.  Many have used that as an opportunity to claim that Hayward, Brown and Tatum cannot coexist.  Those people are just flat out wrong.

Boston's starting five - Hayward, Brown, Walker, Tatum and Daniel Theis - score the most points per game, when compared to other five man lineup combinations that the Celtics have used this season.

For those who can't stop talking about Hayward making $32.7 million this season, I ask you what you would rather have?

Paul George is currently averaging 22.7 PPG, but takes more than 17 shots a game, compared to Hayward's 17 points on 13 shots.  George is also shooting 42% from the floor and is making $33 million this year.  Are Clippers fans hoping to trade him?

Kyle Lowry is averaging 19.4 PPG, on a little more than 14 shots.  He's shooting just 41% from the floor and 34% from three-point range.  Both of which are worse than Hayward.  He's making $33.2 million.  Are Raptors fans looking to ship Lowry off?

Jimmy Butler is averaging 20 PPG, taking a little more than 13 shots, and his shooting a miserable 25% from three-point range.  He's making $32.7 million.  Are Heat fans hoping to get rid of Butler?

The answer is no.

What if the right deal comes along?  There is none.  There is no realistic deal that involves Gordon Hayward that is going to improve this team's chances at an NBA championship.

It's not too late to jump back on the Hayward bandwagon Celtics fans.  By all accounts, the guy has worked his tail off during his time in Boston; battling through injuries and setbacks.  Working through confidence issues, and rediscovering his game again.

It feels like he has finally done that.  This is the player Boston was hoping for.  So, enjoy it.




Follow Derek on Twitter @mcvay34


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Boston Sports Syndicate: Celtics Fans Need to Start Appreciating Gordon Hayward
Celtics Fans Need to Start Appreciating Gordon Hayward
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