That status is precisely why, despite the many ups and downs his season has gone through so far, the Celtics continue to run Hayward out there for significant minutes on a nightly basis. That decision, at times, has frustrated the younger members of the team, who see Hayward as an impediment to the roles they grew accustomed to.
Boston and Hayward haven’t exactly gotten off to the best start this season. The Celtics are currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 31-19 overall record. Not exactly where the team expected to be after making an Eastern Conference Finals appearance last year.
With Kyrie Irving and Hayward both coming back at the start of the season, the Celtics looked primed to take the East by storm. Irving who has been vocal about the team’s struggles of late has lived up to the expectations. Since his return after missing last year’s playoffs, Irving is averaging 23.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists on 49.9 shooting from the field.
Hayward, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly lived up to his contract since returning. When the forward is on the floor for the Celtics, the team has a 3.4 net rating when he’s on the bench their net rating jumps to 10.0.
“I don’t think we’ve all been on a team like this,” Rozier told Yahoo. “Young guys who can play, guys who did things in their career, the group that was together last year, then you bring Kyrie and Hayward back, it’s a lot with it.”
This season Hayward is averaging 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists on 31.7 percent shooting from the three-point line. Not quite the player the Celtics expected when signing him to a four-year, $127.8 deal.
When asked about his struggles, Gordon Hayward told ESPN the following.
“I think with each month I feel more comfortable,” Hayward told ESPN last week. “Sometimes, I need to remind myself it’s good to even be out there, and to try to find the joy in just playing, [and] not get frustrated if things aren’t going exactly how I want them to.”