Is Gordon Hayward Worth the Hype?

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 6: Gordon Hayward
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 6: Gordon Hayward /

Boston Celtics fans have a lot to celebrate with Gordon Hayward, but also have a lot to worry about

Boston Celtics fans can finally celebrate. The wait is over. Gordon Hayward is officially expected to sign with the Celtics, giving them a top free agent acquisition for the second year in a row.

Out of players realistically available, Hayward was the top prize this year. The Celtics battled out both the Heat and the Jazz to add another all star to their top seeded team.

Signing Hayward means the Celtics will be using up the last of their cap space, and we can officially look at what they have now as the culmination of their core.

The Celtics will be lead by Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Hayward, with plenty of role players to fill in the gaps.

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This is supposed to be the move the finally makes the Celtics a threat to the Cavaliers, and allows them to keep pace with the arms race out West.

This is amove that will and should be celebrated, but this is not the same kind of home run as signing Kevin Durant would have been last year.

The Celtics are going to have incredible expectations for Hayward. He is coming into a team where peple will want him to be the best player, and he needs to have an impact on both ends, especially depending on how Jae Crowder‘s role changes.

The problem is that, even if Hayward is one of the elite players in this league that would make any team better, he will need to be the bast player on this team to make them good enough, and he has not played at that level yet in his career.

For Hayward to work out perfectly for the Celtics, they need him to be everything he was with the Jazz and then some. They need him to be creating for himself, and they need him to be a number one option no matter what the offense is looking like.

There is great reason for optimism. Hayward has the experience with Brad Stevens, he has one of the most complete offensive arsenals in the NBA, he will be playing at a pace better suited to his talents on offense and he will be on the team that is as good as anyone at generating open looks.

Everything will be there for Hayward, but one of his great appeals is also one of his risks. The Celtics are anticipating that Hayward is about to enter his prime. The risk is then if Hayward has already peaked, and he will not build on anything he did in Utah.

If that is the case Hayward will still be an all star for the Celtics this season, but that will not be enough to transform this franchise.

With the team around him, Hayward as is could even be enough to get the Celtics past a disgruntled Cavaliers franchise, but there has to be something more, something better from Hayward, if the Celtics want any chance to catch up to the top teams in the west.

If Hayward does not improve, and he stays as is, the Celtics will be fighting for that top seed every year. But, in the end, it could ultimately be the reason this core does not win it all.

The Celtics already had a great team, but the talent in the NBA continues to reach new heights. The Celtics need that final max contract to be the best player on this team, and they need to fit as well and comfortable as both Thomas and Horford.

This is an automatic upgrade in every way for the Celtics, but just an upgrade will not be enough. The Celtics still need that transformative talent and if Hayward does not reach those heights, then the Celtics may have just blown their chance to win with this current core of players.

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The good news is that Stevens is exactly the man you want to try and transform Hayward into the player they need to give themselves a real chance against the Cavaliers and the Warriors.