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Celtics’ Gordon Hayward thinks Brad Stevens is ‘excited about who we have as a group right now’

Celtics

Boston Celtics small forward Gordon Hayward thinks head coach Brad Stevens is “excited about who we have as a group right now.”

The Celtics replaced Kyrie Irving with Kemba Walker and Al Horford with Enes Kanter this summer. Boston also decided not to trade youngsters Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum this offseason for Anthony Davis.

The Celtics’ core for next season is Walker, Hayward, Brown, Tatum and Marcus Smart.

“I think (last year) was challenging for everybody and certainly for Brad trying to manage everything would be a difficult task,” Hayward said, via the Boston Globe. “So I think he’s for sure excited about who we have as a group right now, and I think he’s pretty confident in what we can accomplish.”

Before the 2018-19 season started, the Celtics were the preseason favorite to win the Eastern Conference. Boston, though, was never able to live up to those expectations.

The Celtics lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the 2019 playoffs. Smart went on ESPN last month and said the team was a dysfunctional unit, although he wanted to point out that putting all the blame on Irving is unfair.

In a wide-open Eastern Conference, the Celtics have a good chance at being a top-three seed next season if everything falls into place correctly. Walker figures to mesh with Stevens and Co. better than Irving did.