"Gordon Hayward to Boston" was a hot topic during the season, which makes sense considering the Brad Stevens connection. The Boston Celtics need a scorer badly, and Gordon Hayward could potentially be that guy.
Bleacher Report broke down the top five free agents the Celtics should pursue this summer. Hayward was #3 on the list. Here's the article.
Hayward's talents could mesh well with the Celtics team, especially with the addition of a potential top five pick in the draft (or higher… finger crossed). Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Gordon Hayward, Jared Sullinger, and their two draft picks could be a nice collection of players. Toss in Kelly Olynyk and Brandon Bass and the lack of talent in the Eastern Conference the Celtics could find their way back in the playoffs.
Adding Hayward would give the Celtics another 16 point scorer, replacing Avery Bradley who would probably not get an offer from Boston if Hayward came aboard. Jeff Green and Hayward would be the shooting guard and small forward combination. Throw in Rajon Rondo and Dante Exum (projections!) and that's a pretty fantastic group of four guards. It would take pressure off Jeff Green, who has proven he is not a born leader. That's OK, we just all need to accept it.
One of the tricky tasks that Danny Ainge has is drafting players prior to free agency. Drafting a guy like Exum could change how Ainge enters the free agency market, whereas drafting Aaron Gordon or Noah Vonleh could make it clear that he plans on attacking the guards in free agency while also shopping Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass.
It's incredible to think about the about of moving parts this Celtics team has for Ainge. While the talent is not overwhelming, given the picks he has to use this year, the cap flexibility, and some good free agent options, Ainge has so many different variables to consider while putting the future roster together.
Gordon Hayward is potentially a wonderful fit in Boston. Brad Stevens knows him well, he is a solid scorer who does need to regain his shooting touch. His percentage from the field has dipped since his first two seasons. His shooting load has increased from 3.0 shots per game his rookie year to 9.8 last season. His 3FG% is also a bit of a concern, it went down from 42% to 30%. The dip was not due to added volume, he took 3.4 threes per game in 2012-13 and 3.6 in 2013-14.
If Hayward can combine the shooting percentage from earlier seasons with his growth as a scorer in the past to seasons, he could command a lot of money on the open market. Getting him back together with a coach that led him to two NCAA Championships could be the last step in Hayward's growth as a pro.Tags: Avery Bradley, Basketball, Boston, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Brandon Bass, Celtic, Danny Ainge, Dante Exum, Gordon Hayward, Jared Sullinger, NBA, Rajon Rondo