Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward posted a new blog for the Celtics fans and it looks like he is ready for the season to start.

The biggest x-factor for the Boston Celtics has always been Gordon Hayward. Since his return from his devastating injury at the beginning of the 2017, fans have been looking forward to seeing All Star Hayward; who dominated in Utah averaging 21 points per game by the end of the 2016 season. It is obvious that his injury was something that Hayward needed to work through during his return in 2018, and it is clear that he did struggle trying to find himself and his rhythm while returning to the court.

In a new blog posted on September 24, Hayward speaks candidly about his struggles coming back from injuries and finally feeling that after a full season of training this summer, he is ready to show Celtics fans that he is worth the $31 Million max salary that the Boston Celtics offered him to lure him to the organization during his free agency in 2017.

The mental and physical push

Any fan watching Hayward play last year could see that he was struggling to find an identity not only on the court but with his teammates. Hayward writes:

“Last season, I also played a little bit different of a role than I had played in Utah. That was understandable. Things were always going to be different. It’s a different team, different coach, different system, different style of play. People would have seen that in year one in Boston had I been healthy. Injury or not, there was going to be an adjustment period. That’s what happens when you change teams.”

This is the part of free agency and trades that fans forget while we cheer our favorite teams on. It takes time to build chemistry and gel. And when you are the new guy its easy to feel like the odd man out. During his rehab, Hayward missed a full year of team building and court chemistry. Adding insult to injury (no pun intended)  the Celtics  made it to the Eastern Conference Finals without him.

Although one would think inserting him back into the lineup should be easy – it was clear that it caused more chaos and solidarity, and for some, created resentment and deep frustration in the locker room. But it is clear that Hayward is moving on. He knows what happened last year was part of the process and he seems glad to have the opportunity to get back on the court.

“Looking back on that recovery, I’m proud just to be able to say I got back out there on the court. More than anything, it was a testing year for me mentally. I gradually got better as the year went on. I got more and more confident, and felt like I was playing my best basketball at the end of the year. So overall, it was a successful year for me because to come off the injury and still be able to go out on the court and compete was a huge step.”

Getting the reps in

For any basketball player off season is a time to reflect on the previous season but also work on your game to get you ready for the next season. Hayward made the decision to stay in Boston this year and work with the Celtics coaching and training staff to get his mind and form ready. It is clear from his blog that “getting those reps in” has helped to build his confidence and put him in the winning state of mind. He feels like is he walking into this season a lot more freer as he no longer has the minutes restrictions and he has been able to spend a lot of time working out and getting his conditioning right.

“For me to be able to take that and just build on it, take this summer and train like I’ve been training my whole NBA career, it feels really good. And it’s been a great summer……For me, this summer has been all about building confidence and continuing to do some of the same things that I was so used to doing. I can’t overstate how important it’s been for my mental approach, to have a full summer where I was working out and training the way I need to train. That confidence is something that comes with repetition.”

The unknowns are gone

Gordon again is stepping into this season with a new team.  However he seems excited because things have come full circle for him with the addition of new point guard Kemba Walker and big man Enes Kanter. Hayward knows what Walker and Kanter are capable of and what assets they bring to this new younger team.

He speaks highly of the incoming rookies and returning players from last season. Hayward notes that the organization and fans will be expecting a lot from him and he is willing to take on the challenge.

“Personally, I want to build on the year that I had last year and the way I ended the year and improve on that. I expect to have more responsibility as well. We’re an extremely young team and I’m one of the vets here. So off the court and on, I think more will be expected of me.”

It is clear that Hayward has a goal in mind – not only to continue to work towards raising banner 18, but also using this season as a chance to prove everyone wrong.

He has taken the time to get his mind and body right and he is ready to show the world.

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