Leandre: Hayward Should Come off Bench Until Further Notice


It would’ve been unfair to expect Gordon Hayward to come out of the gates clicking on all cylinders after the horrific injury he sustained on opening night last season.

That being said, in ten games this season, Hayward is averaging 9.9 PPG on just 40% shooting — and just 67% from the foul stripe.

This could be likened to the return of Paul George in the 2014-15 season. George played just six games, never started, and averaged 8.8 PPG on 37% shooting in an average of just over 15-minutes per night.

The big difference here is that Frank Vogel was conservative with the rehab of Paul George after he returned from a broken ankle. Brad Stevens, however, has Hayward back starting and playing 25-minutes a night.

What’s the solution?


The answer is relatively simple, while Gordon is still on his 25-minutes per game restriction, he should be the first guy off of the bench. While Marcus Morris is averaging 15 points and seven rebounds per game off of the bench, he simply has provided more for the cause than Hayward thus far.


Plus, having Hayward on the floor takes touches away from the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who seemed to get their fair share of looks last postseason when they played with Morris at the same time. But as of now, the two youngsters are both shooting under 40% on the season — and it seems they’re forcing some shots for the sake of making sure they’re taking them.

This move wouldn’t be permanent — just until Hayward is able to sustain a high level of play for 30-plus minutes per night. He’s a team-first guy, he understands he’s not there yet. But imagine how much more deadly this Celtics team could be with Gordon Hayward anchoring that second unit?

Don’t think about this decision with your wallets, because the price tag for a six-man would be laughable. However, if you think about this from a performance standpoint, you start to realize that maybe it’s what’s best for making sure Hayward is at his best when it matters most.


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Tyronn Lue, NBA
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