Gordon Hayward. (Erik Drost). No changes were made to this image.
A little over a year ago, Gordon Hayward got injured. Badly. He returned this year. He has struggled. The Boston Celtics have struggled. People are wondering why.
Hayward was recently shifted to the bench, where he put up an 0-fer on New Year’s Eve. He followed that up with a 35-point explosion two days later. What’s going on here?
Cleaning The Glass recently had an interesting discussion encompassing Hayward’s struggles and usage. The discussion inevitably turned to Hayward’s devastating injury, a fractured left tibia and ankle dislocation that involved on-court reduction and surgery to repair both the fracture and ligaments. In case you need a reminder on how gruesome the injury was, see below:
In the aforementioned discussion, CTG founder Ben Falk states the following:
“…a big drop in finishing is one of the easier ways we can see, statistically, the result of injuries. HIs rate of drawing shooting fouls is also on pace to be a career-low…With reduced explosiveness around the rim, he isn’t able to draw contact or finish at the same rates….he’s definitely less explosive on film…of his six dunks this year, only one has been off that previously injured left foot…In Utah, he’d dunk off either foot or both feet.”
Since then, Hayward has boosted that total all the way up to…eleven. Three of those dunks came in one game. What is interesting is that two of those three dunks involved lifting off both feet (it’s hard to tell which foot he’s lifting off of in the third one). You can almost envision Hayward aging a thousand years as he leaps to the hoop:
This past summer, after a multi-year soap opera with Kirk Cousins, the Washington Redskins let their franchise quarterback walk, unwilling to pay the cost it would take to keep him in DC. Instead, they ended up paying a steep price for another quarterback to take his place, sending Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick to bring Alex Smith to the nation’s capital, and subsequently locking him up with a four-year contract extension that pays out $70 million in guaranteed money. Though Smith was coming off one of his most successful seasons, it was a heavy investment in terms of assets and dollars for a 34-year-old quarterback.
Then on November 18, Kareem Jackson and JJ Watt decided to have a meet-‘n-greet in Washington’s backfield and Redskins fans likely saw their season blow-up before their eyes.
Over the last few weeks, we have chronicled a few NBA Draft prospects that have injury questions. We have tried to determine if there is anything we can glean about their NBA futures from their injuries.
With the draft now rapidly approaching, I wanted to conclude our NBA Draft Injury Series by briefly hitting on three prospects with varying levels of ability that are expected to go in the draft Thursday night: fast-rising Miami guard Lonnie Walker, energetic Arizona guard Rawle Alkins, and former five-star Kentucky recruit Jarred Vanderbilt.
To read up on the prospects we have already reviewed, click the following links: