"I'm finna take it there
This time around I'ma make it clear
Spoke some things into the universe and they appeared
I say it's worth it, I won't say it's fair
Find your purpose or you wasting air
Fuck it though, y'all niggas scared
Eyes opened, I can see it clear
They don't make 'em bar none
They don't make 'em real
They don't make it where I'm from
They don't take it here
They don't see in due time, I be making mil's
Bossed up in this game, I been making deals
Get your lawyer on the phone, we can make it real"
After last night’s loss, I think it’s finally time to address the Gordon Hayward situation.
There’s a lot to break down here, obviously. Let’s start by looking at our sample size here. The Celtics have played 40 games this season. Gordon Hayward has played in just 24 of those. Furthermore, the wing trio of Tatum/Brown/Hayward has played just 18 games together. In that small sample, how have the Celtics fared Well, they‘re 11-7 in those games, which is okay but not great. However, when Tatum, Brown, and Hayward are all on the court together, the Celtics outscore opponents by +9.7 points per 100 possessions, which is very good. Those two pieces of information send a rather inconclusive message though.
What might be more insightful is seeing how Tatum/Brown/Hayward are individually affected by each other’s presence. SWIPE ➡️ to see the scoring production and efficiency of Tatum/Brown/Hayward in games where all three play versus games where all three do not play. As you can see, Hayward becomes the odd man out when all are healthy (the eye test confirms this). Hayward is the one who gets relegated to that “4th man” role. He becomes passive and defers to everyone else. His sole function becomes either standing in the corner or bringing the ball up the floor only to give it up for a mismatch play designed for Tatum. But when one of our other wings are out, it becomes a different story.
Overall, judging Hayward as a player has me a bit lost. Sometimes the guy looks like he’s easily the second best player on the team. After all, he is decisively a better decision maker, passer, and inside finisher than Tatum, and is also far more capable of running an offense in general than both Tatum and Brown. But at the same time, there’s also the Hayward who just completely disappears from games. Is that entirely his fault No, probably not. Brad Stevens, after force feeding Hayward a role that he didn’t deserve last season, has now done a complete 180. He’s making no effort to get Hayward involved in the offense. No plays designed for him at all, nothing. Hayward still needs to be more assertive, but some blame most certainly lies with Brad.
Continued in the comments ⬇️
As promised, I will be ramping up discussion of potential trades as we near the February 6 deadline. I’ve already done several trade target posts (all on centers so far), but I thought it would be good to take a step back and establish the main roster holes that the Celtics can address through trade.
(1) Fixing our weaknesses at center
I’ve already discussed this issue pretty thoroughly in the first trade target post. It’s not meant to be a shot at Kanter and Theis at all, as they’ve both been very solid for us so far. However, we know that our center rotation still has major issues that will be exploited during the postseason. Theis is just too small and lacks the physicality that will be needed if we end up playing teams like Philly or Indy. Meanwhile, Kanter’s defense is problematic as we all know. I don’t care what our regular season defensive rating is, it will cost us in the playoffs.
(2) Adding bench depth
Another aspect of the Celtics roster that I suspected would be problematic before the season — we seem to be one solid player short on our bench rotation and it sometimes shows. Kemba, Tatum, Hayward, and Brown should theoretically be enough to carry the offense at all times, but that hasn’t exactly been the case. Sometimes we have super crappy lineups out there that leave me scratching my head. For this reason, I think that adding one additional 3&D veteran could give this team a boost. Again, this isn’t a massive issue, but having a veteran out there who can hit shots, play defense, and know their role will always be a bonus. I understand that our young guys need minutes in the regular season, but I don’t want to see Semi, Carson, or Romeo stepping foot on the court come playoff time. It’s nothing against them, but they’re just not ready.
(3) Addressing the Tatum/Brown/Hayward dilemma
This issue will be addressed in my next post, as I’m running out of caption space. Essentially, this isn’t exactly an urgent issue, but a decision will soon need to be made when it comes to deciding which of these three wing talents are part of our long term plans.
Thoughts Comment ⬇️