Gordon Hayward is still a little rusty after spending a year recovering from an ankle injury, and the bench might be the best place for him right now.
Boston Celtics fans were more than ecstatic to have Gordon Hayward back on the court for the 2018-19 season. It had been a long time coming after the brutal ankle injury that ended last season for him just five minutes into the opener.
But things aren’t as beautiful in Boston as they should be right now, and Hayward clearly isn’t performing at the level the Celtics wanted him to when they signed him in free agency last summer. Even though he has recovered from that injury, he’s clearly not all there, and it’s hurting the Celtics to an extent.
That’s why getting demoted to the bench might be what’s best for both Hayward and the team, at least for right now. That four spot in the starting lineup could go to someone who isn’t showing rust, such as Marcus Morris.
If it were to come to that, Hayward says he would be fine with it.
“For me, I’m happy to be on the court, No. 1 more than anything and, No. 2, whatever I can do to help us win,” Hayward said, via Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. “I said it before the season, it’s whatever to me.
“There’s obviously a little bit of rust and sometimes you just go through those phases. You go through slumps. The shot feels good in practice and looks good and for whatever reason in the game, they’re going in and out.”
Hayward’s struggles are resembling of the entire team, as the Celtics recently wrapped a western road trip in which they went a measly 1-4. They are 7-6 overall and look like they don’t belong anywhere near the NBA Finals, something that many people had them penciled in for before the season tipped off.
But Hayward’s rust is very evident, as he is averaging just 9.9 points per game and shooting less than 40 percent. Until he can shake that rust off, the best way to help the Celtics win could be for him to temporarily surrender his spot in the starting lineup.