Boston Celtics: Are Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward a Trick or Treat

In the spirit of Halloween, instead of children permeating all through the city of Boston with hopes of receiving their favorite treat, murmuring throughout Boston are investigative Boston Celtics fans discussing what level of performance should be expected from small forwards Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward this 2019-2020 NBA season.
Unequivocally the lion’s share of fans blame former Celtics superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, for last year’s distasteful season. Although Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens, insistence to unapologetically insert Hayward into the lineup prematurely or general manager Danny Ainge, selfishly not trading any of the gaggle of talented players prior to last year’s NBA trade deadline was absolutely destructive. Yet, Irving will be remembered as the troublesome culprit.

As “my momma” used to say and I would kindly extend the same message to the entire demographic of Celtics fans who echo the aforementioned sentiments about Irving, “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it”. This past summer during free agency Irving signed a whopping 4-year $141M contract with the Brooklyn Nets. Thus, as one of the greatest boy bands ever assembled in music history NSYNC, once belted out singing their timeless hit record, “Gone”. So is Kyrie Irving!!

Do you want to know what else?

Gone are point guard Terry Rozier, who signed a well-deserved 3-year, $58M contract with the Charlotte Hornets. Additionally, Celtics lost some of its interior toughness, when power forward Marcus Morris, signed a 1-year, $15M contract with the New York Knicks. Lastly, the Celtics lost arguably the anchor of the team center Al Horford, who surprised most when he signed a 4-year, $109M contract to the now 2019 Eastern Conference favorites Philadelphia 76ers. Yes, ladies and gentlemen of Boston gone are Eastern Conference Finals contention as well.

Despite the abrupt absences that must be simply charged to the game, still remains are returning key players and unanswered questions. For starters, most notably small forwards Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward. Both fell short of performance expectations forecasted entering last year’s 2018-2019 NBA season. Tatum quickly established himself as a media darling and a fan favorite after his impressive rookie season averaging 14 points per game and grabbing 5 rebounds per game. More than that, Tatum was a breakout star during the Celtics 2018 Eastern Conference playoff run that was only one game short of an NBA Finals birth. As a result, from the word go of last year’s season, it was wildly anticipated Tatum would evolve from a budding star to an NBA All-Star.

However, both the Celtics organization, as well as the NBA community, received a stagnant Tatum last season at best. As far as Hayward, the status of his health is exponentially complicating fairly evaluating his true worth as well as the team. Understandably last season’s expectations were low for Hayward, given the catastrophic injury he was recovering from until his presence in games cost competent teammates precious minutes on the court and tens of millions off the court.

Tatum is the favorite over explosive small forward Jaylen Brown to be offered a max contract extension. However, Tatum’s inability to consistently create off the dribble and finish at the basketball were glaring weaknesses. Curious if he addressed any of these areas of improvement this past off-season. My only other words of advice to Tatum is STOP TALKING BACK TO REFEREES!!

Hayward has already received his max contract but has yet to demonstrate why. His jump shot is undeniable and he has a great feel of the game. However, his lack of explosion is evident and translates to a total liability on defense, which was showcased in last year’s short-lived playoff run.

Certainly on October 23rd when the season officially begins for the Boston Celtics against the 76ers…no more concessions. We want results, not excuses!! All the best fellas the city of Boston will be rooting for you.

Who do you think will lead the Boston Celtics. Jayson Tatum or Gordon Hayward? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Jamal on Twitter @jamalburke9.

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