The Boston Celtics are on the brink of elimination from the 2019 playoffs and there are a couple of scapegoats Celtics fans can look to. Kyrie Irving is one option, after failing to be that top option he wanted to be when he demanded a trade to the Celtics.
Irving has been the team’s best (if not most efficient) player though. He has led the team in points, minutes, and assists per game. Whether having the offense revolve around him is the best idea is a debate for another day (or better yet this upcoming off-season). His play tangibly helped the Celtics win at least one game this series.
On the other hand, the player who has undoubtedly been most disappointing has been Gordon Hayward. Hayward is a max-contract talent that has performed like a role player. He’s contributing minimally across the board (seven points, three assists, three rebounds per game) and hasn’t shot the ball well (35% from the field).
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Out of all the Celtics players that have played at least 100 minutes so far, Hayward has the lowest box plus/minus. In fact, only two Celtics have a worse point differential. Terry Rozier (who has not adjusted well to being marginalized behind Irving) is one and Marcus Smart is the other. Smart has played only 15 minutes in the postseason.
Hayward shouldn’t be compared to Smart or Rozier. They are young role players not expected to be leaders on this veteran-laden team. Hayward is supposed to be Irving’s co-star. The fact that he hasn’t been able to earn back his starting spot is damning enough.
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It is unacceptable just how bad Hayward has been though. The Celtics are on the hook for over $35 million each of the next two seasons. It shouldn’t be a debate as to whether or not he should be in the rotation in the second year of his deal.
But only one of them talks a wildly confident game. There’s an old saying – if you’re going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.
Net gain: Brooklyn the favorite to land Kyrie this summer
The easy response would be bringing up his injury. Yes, Hayward suffered one of the most gruesome looking injuries the league has seen since Baron Davis’ knee collapsed in the 2012 playoffs. That was also in the calendar year 2017. He has had a full season under his belt since.
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Hayward has the Celtics in a short-term bind, but also a long-term conundrum. He is not contributing much against the Bucks’ pair of All-Stars in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton defensively and he isn’t serving as the second option on offense he was signed to be.
Worse yet, his cap-clogging deal could have ramifications that prevent Boston from adding any top-line talent. That, in turn, is forcing the Celtics current title window shut sooner than ever anticipated. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to have ever been open with the current iteration with Irving and Hayward.
As for Kyrie himself, it still hinges on him. If he continues his shooting struggles, Boston’s season will be cut short. It is time for him to prove he can be the leader his team needs him to be — it is time to be the leader he left Cleveland to be.
If things don’t improve quickly, Hayward may be nearing the end of his Celtics run. If it weren’t for the wing rotation being so thin beyond their starters, his time may have already been cut short. Luckily, there’s more time for Hayward to make me eat these words.
After storming out of the gate with a 4-0 first-round sweep against the Pacers, the Celtics are facing elimination against the Bucks, down 3-1 and heading to Milwaukee on Wednesday.
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Vegas has a new favorite to land Kyrie Irving, and it isnt the Knicks or Celtics
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Kyrie finished with a team-high 23 points to go along with 10 assists and six rebounds, but the team shot just 37.8% from the field. Meanwhile, Boston has had no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo. The MVP candidate poured in a game-high 39 points in Game 4, in addition to grabbing 16 rebounds and dishing out four assists.
Will Kyrie Irving go running back to LeBron James?
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Twitter LogoCopy Link IconLos Angeles LakersLakers Giving Kyrie Irving Another Reason to Consider LeBron James ReunionEric [email protected]@EricPincusTwitter LogoLA Lakers Lead WriterMay 7, 2019 CommentsComment Bubble Icon
“The expectations on me are going to be sky-high. I try to utilize their aggression against them and still put my teammates in great position while still being aggressive. Im trying to do it all.
LOS ANGELES — LeBron James and the Lakers arent in the playoffs, but they do have a pony in the race.
The Bucks now hold a commanding 3-1 series lead as the teams head back to Milwaukee for Game 5. That game, airing on TNT, is scheduled to tipoff at 8pm ET on Wednesday night.
As Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics struggle to handle the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers appear ready to hire Irvings old head coach, according to Yahoo Sports. Tyronn Lue, who coached LeBron James and Irving to a championship over the Golden State Warriors in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, appears destined for the Lakers, according to ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski.
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The All-Star point guard should be one of this summers key free agents, assuming he opts out of his $21.3 million final year with the Celtics. Irving will almost certainly be available in July, given his next contract will start at a projected $32.7 million. Multiple executives around the league suggest he is a flight risk for Boston and tab either the New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets as his next destination (possibly pairing up with Kevin Durant, who can similarly leave the Warriors).