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Celtics’ Gordon Hayward speaks out on being more aggressive this season

Gordon Hayward

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has regained some of the form that made him an All-Star with the Utah Jazz in 2017, averaging 20.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists for a Celtics team currently at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

Hayward spoke about his attacking mindset ahead of Thursday night’s matchup with the Charlotte Hornets, acknowledging that each defensive scheme presents a new challenge:

The 29-year-old also reasserted his belief that a full offseason of basketball work and good health have allowed him to rediscover some of the things that made him one of the best players in the game prior to arriving in Boston.

Linking team success with Hayward’s individual brilliance is not too much of a reach. The Celtics were undefeated in all games where Hayward scored at least 20 points last season, and his capabilities as a playmaker open up the floor for the likes of Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker.

Indeed, Walker and Tatum are both shooting above 40 percent from beyond the arc, and Walker is averaging an extra trip to the free-throw line so far as compared to last season.

Not to be outdone, Hayward is shooting better than 50 percent from downtown, with an Effective Field Goal Percentage of .629 and a True Shooting Percentage over 65 percent.

Hayward’s breakthrough has been in the cards. The summer rumor mill was swirling with reports that he was dominating open workouts, and fellow teammates lauded his performances during camp.

With Hayward firing on all cylinders, the Celtics may finally be able to live up to those lofty expectations that they failed to match last year.