Gordon Hayward open to bench role with struggling Celtics

Nov 11 2018 Portland OR Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving and center Jusuf Nurkic go after a loose ball during the second half of the game at the Moda Center. The Blazers won 100-94. (Steve Dykes-USA TODAY

"For me, I'm happy to be on the court, No. 1 more than anything and, No. 2, whatever I can do to help us win", Hayward told reporters on Tuesday, via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

But things aren't as lovely in Boston as they should be right now, and Hayward clearly isn't performing at the level the Celtics wanted him to when they signed him in free agency last summer. In 12 games - all starts - he's averaging just 9.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He hasn't averaged fewer than 10 points a game since his rookie season.

"Once we hit a couple shots, I thought we felt a lot better about ourselves", coach Brad Stevens said.

After a disjointed preseason, uneven start to the regular season, and a 1-4 road trip packed with fits and starts, the return home Tuesday night after two days off against the also-ran Chicago Bulls was the ideal time for the Celtics to begin resembling the team that was supposed to be the one to beat in the Eastern Conference this season.

His field-goal percentage is lower than it has ever been, and his mark of 31.9 percent from behind the arc isn't desirable either.

The Celtics capitalized on 22 turnovers by the Bulls, who dropped their second straight and third in four games.


"There's obviously a little bit of rust and sometimes you just go through those phases", Gordon said. "You go through slumps", Hayward said. Their personnel has a variety of useful skills on offense, but there is no established hierarchy.

Chris Broussard and Rob Parker react to Kyrie Irving's thoughts on his Celtics team. The emergence of Tatum and Rozier has created a power struggle when it comes to offensive production.

As bad as the defensive numbers are, another ugly trend has started to unfold as well. If it's costing them games two or three weeks from now, they may have to consider bringing him off the bench, and possibly moving Ojeleye into the lineup.

That's why getting demoted to the bench might be what's best for both Hayward and the team, at least for right now.

The Celtics have relied on their stingy defence to carry them through games, leading the league in defensive rating, giving up 102.7 points per game, while it's are completely different story on the other side of the ball, with their offence now ranked 26th in the National Basketball Association, but Hayward is confident they can quickly turn it around.

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