Newly acquired small forward Gordon Hayward, who signed a four-year $128 million max contract with the Boston Celtics earlier this month, is set to make an immediate impact on the Celtics in more ways than one next season. Here are some of the ways Hayward’s game will jump start this Celtics team:
1. Gives the Celtics a legitimate second scoring option.
Having Hayward’s presence on the floor will be a huge lift offensively since he’s one of the few players on the Celtics who can create his own offense and score off the ball as well.
Hayward is the perfect complimentary player to Isaiah Thomas because he can take some of the scoring load off of his shoulders so Thomas doesn’t have to carry the team offensively every night. Hayward is the kind of player who the Celtics can run their offense through when Thomas is on the bench and can help close out games in crunch time with his scoring and shot making ability.
2. Defensive versatility
We all know Brad Stevens loves versatility especially on the defensive end of the court since the Celtics switch frequently on ball screens. Hayward is a solid defensive player who can guard 1-3 and can use his size and length to his advantage at 6 foot 8 especially when switching on smaller guards.
He can also defend his position at a high level which is small forward and hold his own against the league’s best wing scorers like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, and Carmelo Anthony.
3. Ball-handling and Scoring in Transition
With the addition of Gordon Hayward, the Celtics added a player who can handle the ball very well and score in transition effectively. One of the biggest strengths in Hayward’s game is the pick and roll in which he’s one of the most efficient players in the NBA.
Having a player like Hayward’s skill set fits Stevens’ offense well as he loves running a lot of pick & rolls and Hayward is another weapon he can utilize on those plays. Another big strength in Hayward’s game is being able to score in transition. Hayward is one of the best transition scorers in the NBA and that’s perfect in Stevens’ pace and space system where he wants his players to space the floor and play fast.
Even though the Celtics are a bigger team than they were last year, they are still a relatively small team that should look to get in transition every chance they get which is right up Hayward’s alley. Finally, Hayward’s ball handling ability and unselfishness are important assets he brings to the table because it will help create better possessions and scoring opportunities for his teammates.