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Danny Ainge remains optimistic about Gordon Hayward despite up-and-down return

Celtics

After missing the entire season just minutes into the 2017-18 season opener, Boston Celtics star Gordon Hayward has faced his share of struggles in getting back on to the court. He has seen plenty of action this season, but it obviously not the player he used to be, and definitely not the player Danny Ainge gave over $30 million to in order to help the Celtics compete.

However, Ainge is positive that Hayward will find himself. When pressed about an anonymous player having said that Hayward’s presence is hurting the team, Ainge had this to say:

“I think he’s gone through a lot of things. Not just injuries, but change in role. He didn’t have a good game against Golden State, but has had a lot of good games. I’m optimistic.”

That surely means a lot to Hayward who has struggled this season. He has been putting up some of his worst numbers since his rookie season across the board. In 25.8 minutes per game, he is averaging 10.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and one steal. He has also been shooting just 31.4 percent from the perimeter this season, and 41.8 percent overall, both well under his career averages.

To put it in perspective, in his last season with Utah prior to signing with Boston, he was putting gup 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from deep.

His athleticism isn’t fully back and that is affecting much of his game, but Hayward is finding little ways to contribute here and there. His contract is a big factor into the fan’s frustration with his play. With the Celtics comfortably in the fifth seed of the Eastern Conference, Hayward finding his way would be a huge help for the team as they play to gain homecourt advantage in the postseason.