Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
According to agent Mark Bartelstein and Celtics coach Brad Stevens, Hayward’s next move is to see a hand specialist on Monday and determine if surgery is needed. There is no timetable for his return but it’s expected to be several weeks before he plays again.
“Sounds like should he decide [on surgery], the option might actually be a better timeline,” Stevens said. “We’ll see what that all plays out to be. Who knows? It’s too bad.”
Hayward didn’t talk with reporters after the game but he was seen with a cast on his left hand as he ate dinner postgame.
Shitty luck, but not the end of the world (or season). My best (wildly uneducated) guess is a 4-6 week recovery timeline, with an emphasis on the latter. If we all wish hard enough and write letters to Santa, maybe Gordon is back by Christmas?!
Hayward was playing fantastic basketball and the Celtics are going to miss his scoring (55% FG, 43% 3P), playmaking (22% usage rate, 4.6 apg) and rebounding (7.1 rpg, 20% DRB%). So how do they fill the void?
More minutes for Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart is the easy answer. But what about that bench?
The bigger question is which of Boston’s role players will elevate their performance with a greater opportunity? Boston’s collection of backup wings — from rookie Javonte Green to Grant Williams to Semi Ojeleye — are going to get chances to fill minutes created by Hayward’s void. Green has already grabbed minutes and turned heads with his athleticism. Ojeleye has played more sparingly in recent games but will be needed. Stevens prefers to use Williams as a small-ball big but might need him to play more wing minutes.
Depending on the length of Hayward’s absence, there could be an opportunity here for rookie Romeo Langford as well. Langford spent Saturday night with the Maine Red Claws of the G-League and has played just 14 seconds for the parent club this season after missing time at the start of his pro career due to a collection of maladies. Langford, the No. 14 overall pick in June’s draft, has obvious offensive potential but hasn’t been healthy enough to earn NBA minutes yet.
Javonte Green seems to be the popular answer, but I’m very reluctant to lean on him. What about, dare I say it, Romeo Langford? The kid scored 27 points on 10-15 FG and 6 blocks in his G-league debut last night.
By my count, they have 7 games vs good teams (Dal – 2, Den -2, Phi, Mia, and LAC), 4 games vs decent teams (Ind, BKN – 2, and Pho) and
9 8 games vs weak teams (Was, GS, Sac – 2, Det, NYK, Cle, Det, and Cha) between now and Dec 25.
Is it realistic to think they can go 13-6 over the next 19 games?
On Page 2, Jaylen Brown looked really good last night.
But Brown responded, in a big way, to Hayward’s absence on Saturday. He scored 30 points on 10-for-18 shooting against the Spurs, making nine of his 10 free throws—a career-high for attempts and makes at the line. Brown had been playing well when Hayward was hurt but scored 18 points after the injury.
“I wouldn’t say (the game) slowed down,” Brown said. “I just think a different role, more opportunity. I keep preaching that. I don’t think I had the same opportunity last year.”
Brown just returned on Thursday after three games away as he battled an infection. He had 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting in the win over the Hornets, but, according to NBCSports Boston, Brown felt he was just getting started.
“I can’t wait to get it back rolling, and for people to see how much better I’ve gotten,” he said. “You see it in spurts but people will see it. I’m sure of it.”
I’m falling in love with Jaylen’s left-handed finishes at the rim. And the dribble-drives, hesitation moves, power finishes, the kid can do it all.
Sorry, I gotta cut this Dump short. Xinfity’s internet is not cooperating and I have a big day today.