In Honor Of His Birthday Here Is Your Reminder That Gordon Hayward Is Still Really Good At Basketball

The day has finally come. Gordon Hayward has turned 30. Did you know that makes him the second oldest Celtic on the roster (Brad Wanamaker turns 31 in July)? I didn't realize that until I looked it up. God damn is this team loaded with young talent for years to come, love that. But back to Gordon. Now if I told you heading into the season that Gordon Hayward would contribute essentially the same sort of production as a #4 option as his All Star season in Utah, you'd take that right? Now despite the fact that the numbers actually do line up

2016-17 Gordon Hayward: 21.9/5.4/3.5 on 47/39% splits on 15.8 FGA with 2.0 3PM / 118 Ortg / 59.5 TS%

2019-20 Gordon Hayward: 17.3/6.5/4.1 on 50/39% splits on 13.5 FGA with 1.6 3PM / 118 Ortg / 59.3 TS%

Hayward is still the scapegoat for whenever things would go wrong with this team. He's not perfect, the same way other players on this roster have flaws. He's had some tough games against good teams the same way guys like Tatum and Jaylen both have. The point is Gordon Hayward's season has been way better than most expected and plays a big role in why this team has looked pretty damn good before this hiatus. So, on his birthday I figured it was the perfect time to highlight some of these things. First, we begin with the highlights

It really is a shame that the league went on pause when it did, because Hayward had been getting back to his pre-injury form over the last few weeks

Not bad for a 4th option in my opinion. So now that you have some visuals, let's move on to some interesting stone cold facts about Hayward's season

- When Hayward is on the floor, the Celts net rating is +8.0. When he's off, it drops to +3.8. The offensive rating dips from 113 to 109, the AST% dips from 58% to 52%, TS% drops from 58% to 55%.

- With Hayward on the floor the Celts shoot better from the restricted area (64% vs 59%), the midrange area (44% vs 40%), left corner 3s (44.5% vs 36.4%), right corner threes (35.6% vs 28.7%), and above the break threes (37.7% vs 35.3%)

- Only Jayson Tatum (+10.3) has a higher net rating than Hayward among all starters

- Hayward is 3rd on the team in drives per game at 9.6, and shoots 52.6% on all drives. That's a better FG% than Kemba, Jaylen, and Tatum

- Hayward ranks in the 92nd percentile in isolation plays, averaging 1.16 points per possession shooting 52.8%

- As a spot up shooter, Hayward ranks in the 90th percentile averaging 1.23 points per possession shooting 48%

- The Hayward/Tatum pairing has played 937 minutes together. They have the highest net rating (+11.9) of any Celtics duo that has played that many minutes together

- Of the regular rotation players, Hayward has the 2nd highest second half Ortg (119.6) and 3rd best overall second half net rating (+11.6)

- The Celts are 13-6 when Hayward scores 20+ points. That's a 56 win pace no big deal

- His 39.2% from three is the 2nd best percentage on the roster

You get the idea. He's been pretty fucking good in the first season where he had a full summer to be 100% healthy and train. The question then becomes what happens next. As you probably know, Hayward has a player option for 30M next season. Does he opt out and get something better on the open market? Does he opt in because that's way more than any other team would give him? Does he out out and then resign a team friendly deal like we all thought Horford would do? How much of his decision will be impacted by his playoff performance if we ever get to have those? A lot of unknowns for sure. 

But what I do know is that he has shown enough to me this season that a fully healthy Hayward can be a big time player for this roster and ultimately elevates their ceiling. He's accepted his role and hasn't complained once which was a gigantic problem last season for this team. So please join me in wishing Gordon a happy birthday, hopefully his family leaves him alone so he can game his face off and be in tip top shape for when the season hopefully comes back.