Connect with us

Boston Celtics

Celtics notebook: Gordon Hayward receives sage advice

Gordon Hayward has been encouraged in his recovery from surgery by peers from across the league.

This week the Celtics forward received encouragement from an old acquaintance from Indiana — former Pacers and Orlando coach Frank Vogel.

Vogel was on hand to observe a Celtics practice this week, and had a particularly interesting story to tell Hayward. Vogel coached Paul George during the All-Star forward’s return from a broken right leg every bit as severe as Hayward’s.

“With my personality, it’s good to be reminded I’ll get there,” Hayward said of Vogel’s message. “Frank Vogel was talking about when PG was going through the same thing. He was back physically and the leg was strong, but you could tell he wasn’t himself yet. It’s good to hear different accounts like that. It’s good to hear from someone who has gone through it.”

Hayward can certainly relate as he attempts to regain his timing and rhythm — qualities not yet apparent after a year away from NBA competition. Hayward was also briefly waylaid by back soreness, and received a cortisone shot in his back prior to his return to practice this week, after missing last Saturday’s exhibition finale in Cleveland.

Due to a radical departure from what Hayward has known in previous exhibition seasons, the Celtics played their only four games over the first 12 days of camp. They are now in the midst of a nine-day practice stretch leading up to their season opener at the Garden against Philadelphia on Oct. 16.

“I think this year I’d rather have more games,” Hayward said of his need for competition. “In years past, no. But we kind of have two training camps this year. Definitely weird exhibition schedule. Never went through anything like that. Had a game, a day off, game, day off, game. That’s how it went.”

Itching to go

Though practices have been especially spirited, with the Celtics green team pushing the starters for bragging rights — the reserves won the first scrimmage of the week on a Guerschon Yabusele game-winner — it doesn’t take players long to hunger for outside competition.

The time to start thinking about Philadelphia is coming soon.

“I think that it would probably be closer to I’d say like Sunday,” said Al Horford. “A couple days. Because right now this first part of the week the focus has been very clear from the coaches to focus on us, on our group, making sure that we’re comfortable with everything we’re trying to do on the defensive end, comfortable with the offensive sets.

“So we have a lot of work that we need to do, and I’m sure that as the week goes on we’ll start to shift some focus to Philly and the plan of attack.”

Said Brad Stevens: “We do that throughout the year. Not only will we use this week to work on actions and things that they’ll do, but other teams as well. Then you get into specific game-planning, depending on how many days you have, in and around that first game.

“One of the things about the NBA, you better be able to adjust quickly because you only sometimes get 20 hours before you get ready to play. But there’s no question we’ll go over what we feel like is the most important to get ready. But they have a week too and they’re going to add stuff, they’re going to do stuff different, and we just have to be on our toes and ready for that.”

Time to jell

One of Hayward’s most immediate challenges is developing chemistry with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

“You got to work on that,” said Hayward. “Just by playing together and being out on the court in different situations, we’ll start to slowly figure it out. That stuff takes a little bit of time. It’s not going to happen overnight.

“Frankly, I think we have three really good players who can do a lot of things for our team. We just have to figure out how we are going to utilize that.”

Source Link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


More in Boston Celtics