Arnon Dror | Gordon Hayward Early Season
It’s been a long time coming, waiting for Gordon Hayward to return to the Celtics. Nearly 20 games in and the trauma from his freak accident seems to have worn off. Fans still can’t help wincing every time he jumps and makes a shot though. That aside, Arnon Dror thinks there’s reason to bench Hayward and move someone else into the starting lineup.
Last season the Celtics played excellently without Hayward. Now that he’s in the starting lineup, the team’s chemistry seems to be off. Are the Celtics sacrificing too much for his sake? Arnon Dror doesn’t believe so, as it’s probably because of Coach Brad Stevens’ new system. The Celtics are undergoing growth pains, so to speak, with the players being developed to play “positionless” basketball. It’s been a slow and painful start, truth be told. But the finance executive sees this working out for the Celtics in the long run. Many fans forget that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have barely started their NBA careers so they can only become more experienced and confident with the ball down the line.
In terms of the lineup however, Hayward may probably be better off benched for now. While some fans think it’s Brown who should sit it out, the defense of the Celtics is too important to give up, especially since the team hasn’t made the necessary adjustments yet to their offense. Brown is stronger at defense compared to Hayward, and Hayward can use the extra rest. So, who should the Celtics play then? Arnon Dror thinks Aron Baynes should be moved to the starting lineup. Image Source: Hardwood Houdini
Why Baynes? For starters, Baynes can set the defensive tone for the team. His presence in the paint alone will threaten those easy baskets. He also has the assets to go up against the likes of the 76ers Joel Embiid, the Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic, and the Jazz’s Rudy Gobert. He can also relieve some of the pressure from Al Horford. Likewise, he can complement Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum on the offensive front.
As with anything in basketball, one should look beyond the numbers and statistics, says Arnon Dror. This is because on paper it might make sense to keep Hayward in the lineup, but everything else considered, including the team’s dynamics, it will be more rewarding for the Celtics to let Baynes play instead. It’s already worked for the Celtics in the past so that’s even more reason to run it again.
Of course, the decision rests in the hands of Coach Brad Stevens. As one of the best coaches in the league, Stevens wouldn’t be throwing away these important early games just for the heck of it. Not to mention the brutal early season schedule which has been tough for the Celtics, with nine of the first 13 games played on the road. Suffice to say, the Celtics are doing the best they can. If Arnon Dror had to rate the Celtics and where they are right now, he’d give them an encouraging B+.