The Boston Celtics gave Gordon Hayward a huge load of money to lead them to a potential championship this season. And it took just over five minutes for that vision to fade away.
The Boston Celtics need Kyrie Irving to step up and lead them in a major way. With the loss of all-star forward Gordon Hayward, the team will be reeling to restructure the playbook towards Irving’s strengths. The Celtics season is not completely loss with this latest injury. They still have a couple of talented forwards who could step into Hayward’s role in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. But while the Celtics and the NBA world deal with the Gordon Hayward injury, someone has to potentially benefit from it. Here are a couple of teams who should attempt to capitalize on the Hayward injury.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been in the playoff race but always missing out on pushing in the top four of the Eastern Conference. Now is the time for them to claim a top four, home court advantage. The Bucks are coming into the 2018 NBA season healthy and hungry. They boast a litter of young players who have established themselves into niche roles led by all-star, Giannis Antetokounmpo. If they can pick up on last season’s success then don’t be surprised if they leap-frog Boston in the standings.
Who else is ready to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for top dogs of the Eastern Conference? John Wall and company, that’s who. John Wall has already made it known with the Wizards failing to land a third star, that they would be all in on themselves. And now is the best chance the Wizards to secure their place amongst the best in the conference. While they may not have enough offensive firepower to dethrone the Cavaliers for spot one, they may have enough to avoid them until the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Orlando Magic are not threatening anyone near the top of the Eastern Conference. Maybe not even the ones at the But they do have an opportunity to make a move for a Celtics future draft pick and young player if they were willing to deal the Celtics a fill in veteran at small forward. While the Magic are in evaluation mode, they should be in capitalization mode if a deal is there to be made. The Magic could continue to build assets while preserving cap space.
One may ask how the Celtics can spin this situation into a positive. Easy. The pressure is now gone to replicate last season’s win total and challenging Cleveland for the conference top spot. Now they can focus on improving as a team while allowing young players to develop. The consequences of not finding a temporary patch for Gordon Hayward may cost the Celtics a chance at a Finals appearance this year but could pay dividends later down the road.