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Boston Celtics: Gordon Hayward leaving last year behind

Boston Celtics Gordon Hayward is not fooling around. He is leaving last year's disappointing season behind and is ready to go. He spent the summer in Boston working on his rehab, conditioning and his game - all without what he calls the "fits and starts" in his recovery that he experienced last year (per Gordon Hayward):

I want to get this season going for two big reasons. First and foremost is the way that last season ended, with all the expectations we didn’t meet. That didn’t leave a good taste in my mouth, and that has driven me all summer.

On top of that, it kind of felt like my game had slowly progressed throughout the year. So having a full summer, being able to get ready for the season and get it going, it makes me feel excited.

The statistics bear out what Gordon states about his game slowly progressing throughout the year. His numbers in November and April of 2018 show:

(Nov.) 27.5 MPG, 10.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.9 APG, 42% (FG), 26% (3's), 97% (FT), plus/minus of +3.8

(April) 31.2 MPG, 18.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, 65% (FG), 40% (3's), 94% (FT), plus/minus of +6.0


I envision Hayward's floor time to fall somewhere between 28-and-32 minutes per game this season. The April numbers only encompass four games - a small sample - but a projected line of 15/5/5 with 46%/38%/94% shooting accuracy would suffice for the 1-Time All-Star with the expected production from his teammates. Here is Gordon again on his feelings about new teammate, Kemba Walker:

Kyrie and Al are gone, but we brought in Kemba and Enes, and added some other pieces as well. I think a lot of people around the league have kind of counted us out now. But I believe we’ve got a really tough squad.

Kemba is definitely a game-changer. The pace that he plays at, there’s not very many guys in the league that are as quick as he is, and can kind of find the seam the way he can. It opens things up for me. So I’m excited to get a chance to play with him this year.

I’ve always had a good relationship with Kemba dating back to our first few seasons in the league. It seems like we’ve always been around each other: Rising Stars games and All-Star games, and just playing against each other. We’ve had some battles.

This is a new start for Hayward and a new era for the Boston Celtics. Gordon also was a teammate of newly-acquired Enes Kanter for three years in Utah and is looking forward to playing alongside the old-school big man.

So Gordon is leaving last year behind and ready to play the game he loves. He tells Boston fans, "Thanks for sticking with us. Thanks for sticking with me." We love you, Gordon. And looking forward to an exciting and productive season.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center

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