By: Trey Montgomery
It’s no secret that the Cavaliers and Warriors have dominated their respective conferences over the past three years. Some teams are planning to wait this run out and begin rebuilding while the two powerhouses go at each other for the next 3-5 years. Other teams are trying to build a powerhouse of their own and somehow claw their way to a Finals appearance by knocking off one of these two Goliaths. The Celtics have chosen the latter. With the announcement of Gordon Hayward signing a 4 year/$128 million deal with Boston, it certainly looks like the Celtics are building a team to compete with the Cavaliers.
One factor that may have affected Hayward’s decision more than many people realize is the coaching staff. The Celtics’ head coach, Brad Stevens, coached Hayward during his two years at the University of Butler. Together, they were one half court shot away from knocking off Duke and winning the National Championship at the 2010 Final Four. After that season, Hayward was drafted by the Utah Jazz and shortly after, Stevens was called up to the big leagues to coach for the Boston Celtics. Neither of them anticipated that, eight years later, they would be reunited.
Gordon has been slowly improving in the his seven years in the NBA, which can be seen by his increase in points per game every season. This past year, Hayward averaged a career high in both points per game (21.9) and rebounds per game (5.4) while also making his first All-Star appearance of his career. He is sure to help a Celtics’ team that has had struggles both offensively and defensively at the small forward position. With rumors already swirling about Marc Gasol making his move to Boston, these Celtics are prepping to give the Cavaliers a run for their money in the East.
Gordon Hayward is leaving the Utah Jazz with little to no chance at making a title run any time soon. With Rudy Gobert making the All-NBA Second Team this past season, the Jazz will have to build around him and somehow find a player to fill the gaping hole that Hayward left. At the end of the day, Hayward wants to win a championship, and the Celtics may have the third best chance in the league to get that done.