Gordon Hayward will leave the Boston Celtics in September for the birth of his fourth child.
Boston relies very heavily on the scoring of their starting five (plus Marcus Smart), so removing one of those guys is going to be a problem for the Celtics.
The starters plus Marcus Smart have scored over 93% of the team’s points this year.
Towards the beginning of the season, the two biggest issues facing the C’s were the lack of an interior presence and scoring production off the bench. However, with the emergence of Daniel Theis, the bench scoring took a commanding lead in terms of their glaring weaknesses.
To compensate for the missing offensive production, Brad Stevens often staggers starters with the bench unit. Stevens looks to put starters in with the bench who can pass effectively, get their own shot when necessary, and don’t turn the ball over. Those players are Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward more often than not.
Gordon Hayward’s stats this season:
- 8.0 Net Rating – 2nd behind Tatum
- 18% Assist Percentage (The percentage of a team’s assists that a player has while on the court) – 3rd behind Smart and Walker
- 2.34 AST/TO Ratio – 2nd behind Smart
- 20.1 Assist Ratio (average number of assists per 100 possessions) – 2nd behind Smart
Gordon Hayward faired much better in lineups that were conspicuously lacking in offensive firepower than most other Celtics would have; he is one of the most intelligent and dynamic players on the entire roster.
Hayward takes a lot of pressure off his teammates with his elite passing. His ability to put less skilled players in position to score keeps the offense afloat until the rest of the starters come back.
Hayward has been adamant about leaving the bubble whether the Celtics are still playing or not (as he should be).
“I’ve been at the birth of every one of my children, and I think there are more important things in life. So we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
But he also mentioned he hopes to rejoin the team soon.
“I know the NBA has a protocol for that type of thing, and hopefully I can do the quarantining and testing the appropriate amount of time and then be back with the boys.”
Trying to guess how long Hayward’s leave of absence will be is purely speculation. However, if he were to miss a week, which seems like a best-case scenario, that will keep him out over half a series.
Whether the C’s will be able to survive without him is yet to be seen but considering his unavailability will be right in the middle of one of the two most heated series’ – vs the Toronto Raptors or the Milwaukee Bucks, this could be an enormous problem for the Celtics.