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Boston Celtics: Where does Gordon Hayward land in pecking order?

After three games in World Cup competition, Boston Celtics point guard, Kemba Walker, has become the face of Team USA. In 23.7 minutes of action per game, he is notching 14.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.3 SPG and only one turnover per contest. His speed and wizardry on the court have thrown opponents off balance, and his defense has been outstanding.

So what does this mean for the Celtics upcoming season? And where does Gordon Hayward rank in Boston's pecking order? With Kyrie Irving in charge of Boston's offense last season and Gordon struggling to regain his All-Star form, Hayward ranked behind both Kyrie and Al Horford - and possibly lower than that by many estimates.

Gordon will earn $32.7 million this season and $34.2 million in 2010-21, but with a player option. Give the blame to injury and internal disruption, but Gordon in his 2-year tenure has not come close to earning that kind of money.

I expect that to change this season. Hayward has had the chance to totally strengthen his injured leg, regain his previous fitness level, and do so without the daily grind of workouts, practice and travel. It is just what he needed.



The fingers of blame pointed in all directions during, and after, last season. That needs to be left behind. There's a new point guard in Bean Town, and he just wants to win. And Kemba Walker has the temperament to get it done on a team basis - no personal glory required. Here is NBA TV analyst Sam Mitchell's analysis on the subject:

If Gordon Hayward comes back and shows that he's the best player on that roster, they'll be fine. If he can't play to that level, that's when you can kinda have some problems. The key for the Celtics is gonna be their pecking order.

I agree with Mitchell only to the point that Gordon needs to be fully-healthy and play the high-level team game he is known for. I see Kemba and Gordon as two players that can fit anywhere. They are both long-term NBA veterans who will make for a great pairing once they get acclimated to each other. Kyrie Irving virtually demanded to be the Alpha in the Celtics system. He certainly doesn't lack for basketball talent or ego. You won't see that with Walker and Hayward.

So, pecking order? I don't see it that way. In the 80's, Larry Bird was Boston's Alpha, and everyone knew it. With the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett duo, The Truth was the Captain, but The Big Ticket also controlled much of what was going on. And it worked. I discard the pecking order idea for this season. But I do agree that Gordon needs to return to form in the first months of the season. He will be 30 years old by the end of the season, and this will be a contract year for him. There is a lot on the line for Hayward and the Boston Celtics. I will be rooting for him all the way.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center

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