By Danny Picard
BOSTON — We don’t need any more analysis of Gordon Hayward’s gruesome leg injury.
It’s unfortunate, unexplainable, and tough to watch, even if you’re not a Boston Celtics fan.
But the show must go on. And with 80 more regular-season games ahead of them, this group will have to find a way to keep playing at a high level without Hayward.
With Hayward, the C’s entered the season having the third-best odds to win the NBA Championship, behind Golden State and Cleveland. Those odds have now obviously taken a hit. But certainly not to the point where the intrigue-factor has been totally lost.
The Celtics still have their best player, Kyrie Irving. They still have Al Horford. They still have “contract year” Marcus Smart. And they still have a pair of top-three draft picks, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, ready to make their impression on the league.
Hayward’s absence makes the Celtics a worse team, but it also opens the door for younger, less-proven players like Smart, Brown, and Tatum to play a more prominent role. All three should be motivated by the opportunity. And an opportunity they’ll most definitely have.