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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Gordon Hayward’s comeback

So if you have read any of my pieces pertaining to the Boston Celtics thus far this season, it will come as no surprise that I have this overwhelming sense of optimism regarding this team. I suppose just as any other fan of their team would too, however, this feeling is different. Boston sports as an entity in itself has seemingly come close to reaching, and maybe even passing, a pinnacle, with just in 2018 two of the four major American sports seeing Boston teams take home the trophy. The New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox set the stage just last year for Boston to complete the coveted ‘Grand Slam’ and win out across all four sports, claiming the Super Bowl and World Series respectively. The Boston Bruins and Celtics however, were unable to uphold their ends of the four-piece puzzle, and as result we Bostonians were left only with the allowance to celebrate two championships in one year. Talk about disappointing. However, in this light, one can see the unstable positions all four of these teams are shaping up to find themselves in. The Patriots can see exclusion from this conversation, for now, as so long as the Brady-Belichick combo is deployed we stand a fighting chance. As for the remaining teams, the Red Sox look to be, as much as I hate to say it, falling apart at the seams. The blunder that was last season is one fans are already fast to forget, and with powerhouse teams forming across the league, it seems unlikely the Sox see a return to the highest stage anytime soon. The Bruins are in win now mode, which feels like has been the case for a couple of seasons now, but how long can that narrative hold up before the players the team bring on and re-sign burn out with such the ambition? I stay hopeful, of course. But finally, there are the Celtics.

            

The Celtics, as I have said and will repeat until is no longer the case, lost their first game of the season, and have yet to lose another one since. A 5-1 record, standing first place in the East, though the likelihood that they stay on this unbeaten course for much longer may not be too high, it shouldn’t matter much when you take a step back and see the groundwork being laid now, for later on in the season. Last season was weird, but we’re moving on pretty well. Currently, the team has three players averaging at least 20 PPG, and have steadily been looking like a more fundamentally developed and in-tune offense than ever they did last season, averaging (of course only thus far) 110.3 PPG as a team, almost ten more points than last season’s average of 102.1 PPG. Kemba Walker has been a welcome and more than beneficial addition to the team, and with young stars such as Jayson Tatum coming into their own and commandeering such greater parts of the offense, the team can allocate more room for everybody to flourish in whichever way would best help the total sum. Here, is where the Gordon Hayward window is open.

            

2017 was Hayward’s last season on the Utah Jazz. In that year, he averaged just under 22 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 3.5 APG. Named a Western Conference All-star that season, the Celtics made the move to sign him the following off-season to his now current four-year, $128 million contract. He showed great prospect the season before signing with the Celtics, and as result had the entire city excited for his arrival. Unfortunately, as many team fans would sadly look back on and remember, in his first game with the team, while coming down from an attempted alley-oop, Hayward suffered a gruesome leg fracture that saw him miss the entirety of his first season with the team. The narrative of undertaking a slow and steady recovery has followed Hayward and the Celtics since, but now, three years later, we may all be on the other side. Hayward thus far this season is averaging 20 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and just under 4.5 APG, and maybe in what’s been the greatest indicator of his progress since injury, on the exact court where it happened, he scored a career high 39 points, with just 3 missed field goals in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers this past Tuesday. Hayward is right on track to becoming, and maybe ever surpassing, his past self, and though Celtics fans have been on this journey with him for years now, others were quick to discredit him following his downfall. Well, maybe now the league will take notice, as we in Boston prepare to reap the benefits of his comeback. The only question is — too be, or not to be, the old, Gordon Hayward?