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Gordon Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor

Gordon Hayward's return is the Celtics' biggest X-factor
Published On: Wed, Aug 08
Apr 5, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) dribbles the ball during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

There's no way you can look at the Boston Celtics and not be impressed with their depth.

We're not talking about a team with a solid starting five and some nice filler pieces.

Boston essentially has two different starting five-caliber lineups it can utilize on a nightly basis.

But for every team with legit title aspirations like the Celtics, there's usually one or two players whose impact will be a major factor in the team's success.

Boston has plenty of candidates to fall under that category, but none stand out more than Gordon Hayward.

An All-Star in his last season with the Utah Jazz, Hayward suffered a gruesome, season-ending ankle injury in just five minutes into his first year with the Celtics. How he re-integrates his game with his young, battle-tested teammatesA will be a major factor in Boston's quest to bring Banner 18 to Boston at the end of the season.

"I'm just about full speed," Hayward said last month in an interview with NBC Sports Boston, adding that he was planning to start playing five-on-five this month. "As with everything, see how my ankle reacts to that. So, I'll go and test it out and see where it is. I'm excited to get back on the court."

So are the Celtics, well aware that Hayward's return bodes well for their chances of coming out of the Eastern Conference and getting back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

Read the complete news article here...


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