Gordon Hayward
Is superstar Gordon Hayward back? Gordo has looked incredible inside the NBA bubble. If Hayward is fully back, are the Celtics legit title contenders? (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)AP

Is Superstar Gordon Hayward Back For The Bubble?

I said this before but I believe it to be true. The Celtics really benefited from the NBA hiatus. It allowed Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to continue to improve their games. Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward needed to reset their bodies. When it comes to Hayward, we often forget he’s the highest paid on the team and it was for good reason.

Hayward was a Western Conference All-Star and the best player on a team he carried to a playoff series win over the LA Clippers. Just like Paul George, when Hayward broke his leg, we knew we wouldn’t get the old version for a while. 3 years after Hayward broke his leg, I think the old version is finally all the way back.

Even before the bubble, Hayward has shown he’s back. The former Butler star is shooting a career high 50.1 percent while also posting 38 percent clip from deep. He’s also averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. Keep in mind also on a team that also has 3 other stars.

Since being in the bubble, Hayward is obviously playing well and shooting efficiently from the floor. The biggest difference is the way he looks. Part of what makes Hayward so good is his patience on the floor. He does such a great job of taking his time and doing his thing on the floor so smooth. The problem is his explosion has come and gone since the injury. Since coming to the bubble, Hayward just looks like he’s back. His explosion has returned on a daily night.

Brad Stevens obviously likes what he’s seen from Hayward:

“He’s been really good here for the most part in these games,” Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said after the team squeaked past the Orlando Magic in overtime. Stevens is stating the obvious, especially after Hayward’s 31 point, 9 rebound, 5 assist night.

“He’s been really good,” Stevens continued, “He’s been in attack mode the whole time. When he’s attacking, we’re better because he just makes a lot of great reads with the ball.”

Gordo is so important to this Celtics team. What team has a trio of wings like Tatum, Brown and Hayward? More importantly, Hayward is a perfect secondary ball handler. The offense becomes stagnant when Kemba Walker isn’t in the game. Gordo has always done a great job setting up his teammates.

I don’t mean to go super homer mode but something feels different with the Celtics. Gordo looks great which really brings Boston to another level. If All-Star Hayward is back, this is a different conversation. I can smell Banner 18.