Calvary Hayward: a pure talent stalked by injuries

The Celtics player is injured again just as he began to recover the level that made him one of the promises of the competition.


When October 17, 2017 Gordon Hayward broke the tibia in the first game of the season. It was his debut with the Celtics, a premiere that lasted just 5 minutes and ended in the worst possible way. Dwayne Wade's face crouched on the floor, it said it all. The injury left the competition impacted and halted the progression of a player who came from leading the best Jazz in a decade and becoming one of the best signings the free agency arriving in Boston to assault the LeBron Cavs, the ring and the NBA.

Nothing is further from reality. The player said goodbye to the campaign as soon as he started. The big three that in theory was going to form with Kyrie Irving and Al Horford was diluted to the first exchange. Everything changed for a Brad Stevens who could not count on the base in the playoffs but, oddly enough, stayed closer than the Finals than ever. Starless. Without egos. Only with a horde of young players who made the Garden a fort that only LeBron could storm. Always LeBron.

Hayward was selected in the ninth position of the 2010 draft by the Utah Jazz. In theory, it was the perfect place to develop its potential. A franchise that came from playing playoffs and had Deron Williams in their ranks and Jerry Sloan on the benches. A star to look at and a mythical technician to learn from. Things were not as they seemed, and internal disputes between coach and player ended both outside the franchise. The first left the franchise he had directed for almost 23 full seasons and the second set course for the Nets, where he would begin to lower his statistics until he fell into oblivion.

In the midst of all that was Hayward, who barely averaged 5 points per game in his first season and who, despite improving, had to wait until 2013-14 to settle in the title. That year it was postulated as the reference of some drifting Jazz and that they only won 25 games spurred by the 16 points by shock of a player who began to carburet and that would continue to be the reference of the Jazz with Quin Snyder, with which the franchise saw the light again. Two years touching some playoffs that they would finally get in 2016-17, with Hayward finally exploding (21.9 + 5.4 + 3.5) and the Jazz giving the surprise in the first round and reaching the Western semifinals.

Recovering to fall again

The transfer to the Celtics, who signed him for the maximum (127 million in four years) had the bad start that we all know. A break that left a player who came from being All Star and put 40 points to the Clippers in the third game of the first round of the playoffs. A stick that would take a whole year to recover before returning last season to adopt a secondary role and join Kyrie in a project that could be and was not even close to being. The big three that theoretically was going to form with the base and Horford was diluted in a summer in which Irving was heading to Brooklyn and the center of the Sixers leaving the most winning franchise in the history of the NBA stopped in a project that nobody I knew how to start up again.

No one except Stevens. The coach gave his first signs of weakness last year, when he failed to manage a template without chemistry and the egos of young players, jealous of the ball that Kyrie assumed and the attention that his mentor paid to the recovery of the eaves. However, we cannot forget that Stevens is Stevens and that before the failure of last season he was considered the genius who was going to inherit Popovich. There is still for that, but the Celtics have a record of 7-1 and have seven consecutive victories after falling in the initial game. Curiously, like the Lakers, that eternal rival who has tasted success as much as they did in the last decade.

On that streak Hayward was at 20 points, 9 rebounds and more than 4 assists reminding the player that he became All Star in the Jazz. It was for many the best team and was leading the Celtics on track. His injury to the Spurs, game in which he added 9 points in just 15 minutes and a +15 with him on the track. A catastrophe not for the team (which will surely suffer its loss) but for him, who was starting to poke his head and show his best version again before falling again.



Photos from as.com
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