Gordon Hayward’s two-tiered challenge – finding chemistry after a year away from the NBA on top of his physical recovery from a near-catastrophic injury – has played out in oft-frustrating fashion over the first 21 games of the season.
But according to Kyrie Irving, one aspect of Hayward’s game – the shooting that led to his first All-Star selection two years ago in Utah – is about to become more apparent.
“Honestly, I think that he's passing a little too much for Gordon's potential and his talent,” Irving said after today’s practice. “I think, coming up in the next few games, he'll be able to show some different things that he's been on for the start of the season. Just being more aggressive offensively and looking for his shot more.
“We had practice yesterday and I told him, 'Look for your shot more. Get aggressive and get yourself going because you are a great talent in this league and I don't want you to ever forget that,'” he said. “Of course, he does a great job of coming off the pick-and-roll and making those passes, but I want him to be aggressive and score the basketball for us as well because we are going to need it down the stretch.”
Hayward, though, is also settling in as the primary facilitator on the Celtics’ second unit – at least if Brad Stevens’ most recent tweaks to the rotation are any indication.