Celtics

Celtics officially announce Gordon Hayward signing

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Celtics officially announce Gordon Hayward signing

It's official. The Celtics announce the signing of free agent Gordon Hayward. 

Here's the team's official press release:

BOSTON, MA –The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed All-Star forward Gordon Hayward. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Whether you’re talking about the team’s past, present, or future, the Boston Celtics are truly special,” said Hayward. “I can’t wait to be part of the winning culture of Boston, and to join my teammates and coach Stevens as we work together to bring Celtics fans Banner 18.”

“I’m very happy to welcome Gordon and his family to the Celtics organization and the city of Boston,” said Celtics governor and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck. “He has improved his game every year in the NBA, to an All-Star level. We have been patient during this rebuilding process, and hope to step forward and compete at the highest level.”

A first-time NBA All-Star in 2016-17, Hayward (6-8, 226 lbs.) logged career highs with 21.9 points (47.1% FG, 39.8% 3-PT, 84.4% FT) and 5.4 rebounds, while also adding 3.5 assists, 1.00 steal and 34.5 minutes in 73 games (all starts) with the Jazz last season. His 21.9 points per game scoring mark represents Utah’s highest single season scorer since Karl Malone averaged 22.4 points in 2001-02. The Indianapolis, IN native was also one of 10 NBA players to produce at least 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists while also shooting 47.0% or better from the field last season.

Hayward’s All-Star season culminated with a postseason run in which he averaged a team-best 24.1 points (44.1% FG, 41.2% 3-PT, 93.4% FT), 6.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 37.4 minutes in 11 playoff games for the Jazz. The versatile veteran scored 20 or more points in eight of those 11 contests – including a postseason career-high 40-point performance on April 21 vs. the LA Clippers – helping guide Utah to its first Western Conference Semifinals appearance since 2009-10.

“This is a big day in Celtics history,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “Adding Gordon as a current All-Star, in the prime of his career, to an already good group of players is reason for excitement.”

Continued Ainge: “Gordon brings a great work ethic and character along with his ability to shoot, pass, and create offense in the pick and roll. His athleticism, size and versatility will allow him to fit in perfectly defensively as well.”

"We are thrilled to welcome Gordon and his family to Boston,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “He's a tremendous competitor and a great teammate who constantly seeks improvement, and consistently impacts winning. I am looking forward to working with him, once again, as we all continue to strive to compete for championships here in Boston."

Originally selected with the ninth overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft by Utah, Hayward, 27, has posted career averages of 15.7 points (44.4% FG, 36.8% 3-PT, 82.0% FT), 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.02 steals and 31.3 minutes in 516 games played (408 starts) over seven seasons with the Jazz. Hayward’s scoring totals have improved each year since he entered the NBA out of Butler University, making him the only NBA player to have increased his scoring in each of the last seven seasons.

Hayward will wear number 20 for the Celtics.

 

Celtics' Jayson Tatum playing better as a sophomore

Celtics' Jayson Tatum playing better as a sophomore

BOSTON -- Jayson Tatum is a victim of his own success. 

One of the top rookies last season, Tatum emerged as a clutch scorer for the Celtics in the playoffs, whether it was knocking down a 3-pointer or going to the rim and dunking on his childhood idol, LeBron James. 

But these first weeks of the season have reminded us that as good as Tatum has been, he too will experience his share of ups and downs on the floor.

That’s why he wasn’t the least bit phased by delivering a season-high 27 points in Boston’s loss at Portland on Sunday. 

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“I never get too excited when I play well,” Tatum said. “I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to do. I know I’m gonna make shots eventually. It’s a long season. Some days it just don’t go in.”

Tatum is hoping those days are behind him now that he’s put together a couple of high-scoring, highly efficient scoring games. 

Although Tatum is only shooting 41.3 percent from the field this season, he has connected on at least 50 percent of his shot attempts in the last two games while averaging 24.0 points per game in that stretch.  

It makes sense for him to start breaking out and making shots considering the Celtics rank among the league’s leaders in open shot attempts. 

“We’re gonna hit open shots eventually,” Tatum said. “It’s still pretty early. We’re not trying to make excuses. Guys in here will figure it out.”

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And while there’s understandably a considerable amount of attention given to what Tatum does as a scorer, he’s actually playing better in just about every phase of the game outside of his shooting percentage. 

His scoring, rebounds, assists as well as offensive and defensive ratings, are all better than what he did statistically as a rookie last season. 

But Tatum understands that while the Celtics need him to be an all-around player, he also knows that a big part of what he contributes is directly tied into his ability to make shots at an efficient level. 

That’s’ exactly what he did as a rookie, connecting on 47.5 percent of his field-goal attempts -- including 41.3 percent of his 3-pointers -- while averaging 13.9 points per game. 

Tatum acknowledged that he was in a bit of a shooting funk before breaking out in the last two games, a trend he hopes to continue when Boston returns to the floor to host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. 

He explained part of what has gone into him re-discovering his shooting stroke recently. 

“Just concentrating, going a little bit harder in pre-game routines, getting game-like shots,” Tatum said. 

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Coach Brad Stevens believes Tatum’s turnaround shooting the ball began in the loss to the Jazz.

“He did a much better job of really picking spots and getting the right looks,” Stevens said Friday's defeat in Utah. “He’s a young guy. I thought he handled the last 48 hours great. I was pleased with how he played.”

Stevens had started the second half of Boston’s comeback win at Phoenix the previous night with Marcus Smart in the lineup in place of Tatum. 

Following the game, Stevens said the decision was not an indictment of any particular player but instead a need to jump-start the team, which was by and large was lethargic up to that point. 

But as we’ve seen with Tatum, good play, bad play, it doesn’t matter. 

He is all about that “on to the next one” mantra, where the goal is to simply keep getting better regardless of how ridiculously high the expectations from others may be for him. 

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