BOSTON (CBS) — Everyone and their mother has been chiming in on ways to fix Gordon Hayward.
Now, Kyrie Irving is weighing in.
It’s been a frustrating start to the season for the C’s forward as he returns from missing all of last year with that devastating ankle injury. He’s averaging just 10.1 points per game, and is taking just nine shots per contest, opting to be more of a facilitator in the Boston offense.
It’s the fewest shots he’s averaged per game since his second year in the league. Irving wants to see that change.
“Honestly, I think that he’s passing a little too much for Gordon’s potential and his talent,” the Celtics guard told reporters following Thursday’s practice. “I think, coming up in the next few games, he’ll be able to show some different things that he has been for the start of the season; just being more aggressive offensively and looking for his shot more.”
Irving has been pleading with Hayward during practices to be more selfish with the basketball as he knocks off the lingering rust.
“We had practice yesterday and I told him, ‘Look for your shot more. Get aggressive and get yourself going because you are a great talent in this league and I don’t want you to ever forget that,'” said Irving. “Of course he does a great job of coming off the pick-and-roll and making those passes, but I want him to be aggressive and score the basketball for us as well because we are going to need it down the stretch.”
The most shots Hayward has attempted in a game this season is 14, which he put up in Boston’s embarrassing home loss to the lowly Knicks last Friday. He scored a season-high 19 points in that game, hitting six of his shots, including two of seven from downtown.
He’s taken just 12 shots in his last two games, combined. Hayward has been coming off the bench for the last week, so he’s had fewer opportunities to put up shots. But even when he is getting looks, including some pretty good ones, he’s opted to pass.
Hayward is going to be a work in progress for much of the season. But we’ll see if he runs with Irving’s advice on Friday night when the Celtics host the Cleveland Cavaliers.