If sports fanatic needed evidence that a team’s chances of winning or losing can rest on any one given player the last week of games provided such. Like the Green Bay Packers losing future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers to injury the Boston Celtics saw their title hopes take a nose dive with All-Star Gordon Hayward breaking his leg in Cleveland last night. 2018 Odds to Win NBA Championship: Celtics stock tumbles
You will read a number of cyberspace articles that offer hope to the Boston faithful. The argument is that the Celtic had yet to learn how to be a team with offseason free agent acquisition Hayward. While the argument holds some water there are further pressing issues for the club. Yes, the squad hadn’t learned to succeed with Hayward’s skill-set yet but they haven’t done so with the likely replacements, either.
A mere six minutes into his first official game with his new team Hayward’s 2017-18 campaign is now in limbo. As are the Celtics postseason title hopes.
I wrote in my latest NBA Free Pick to Click that I believed the Celtics lost in the offseason by trading away Isaiah Thomas for Kyrie Irving. I also added that the Celtics “have lost an additional share of market value with Hayward being lost to injury. The argument that the loss isn’t as critical as I wrote it out to be simply isn’t the case. While the team had not yet adjusted to having Hayward in the lineup shouldn’t be considered a “silver lining.” The roster result of losing the former Jazz All-Star is that the team now has to learn to play with more minutes from a rookie, Jason Tatum and last year’s Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris. And Morris is out of tonight’s game and for as much as a week due to right knee soreness.”
Depending on a rookie and a journeyman like Morris to fill the minutes of a proven wing scorer and All-Star isn’t an investment that I want to make when it comes to sportsbook futures.
The void left by Hayward can’t be understated. The Las Vegas and Offshore Race and Sportsbooks have already announced this fact with their adjustments to NBA Futures.
The loss of Hayward resulted in Boston pushing 30-plus minutes to the legs of five players on opening night.
Jaylen Brown recorded nearly 40 minutes as did Kyrie Irving. Tatum was on the court for 36-plus minutes. Injury prone center Al Horford logged 32 minutes of court time. And the primary replacement for Hayward, Marcus Smart, registered 32 minutes of hardwood time.
Head coach Brad Stevens gave Tery Rozier 20 minutes. Offered Aron Baynes 19 while Semi Ojeleye and Shane Larkin played single digit minutes. Abdel Nader and Daniel Theis were DNP’s (did not play).
Until further notice or roster changes are made the following is the likely Celtics starting five moving forward.
Kyrie Irving PG
Marcus Smart SG
Jaylen Brown SF
Jayson Tatum PF
Al Horford C
The Las Vegas SuperBook, Westgate, positioned Boston as the third most-likely NBA franchise to win the 2018 NBA Championship at 15-to-1 in May. But with Hayward gone, those odds have been updated to 20-to-1. In truth the latest update for the Celtics likely should have fallen further.
2018 Odds to Win NBA Championship: Celtics stock tumbles