Celtics’ Gordon Hayward No. 16 on SI’s Top 100 NBA players of 2018 list

(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

SI’s “The Crossover” has revealed its list of the Top 100 NBA Players of 2018 and new Boston Celtics scorer Gordon Hayward ranks at No. 16.

Gordon Hayward, the Boston Celtics prize free-agent this offseason, ranks No. 16 on The Crossover’s Top 100 NBA players of 2018 list.

The new Celtics star will reunite with his Butler University head coach Brad Stevens in Boston. Together they hope to complete some unfinished business and win a championship.

In doing so, Hayward along with Kyrie Irving and Al Horford will bring that coveted 18th championship to Boston.  It should take some time to all sync together, but Haywards gives Stevens and the Celtics’ offense that complete wing player they have been looking for.

Not only can he score, he can create his own shot in different ways.  Hayward is the type of player Stevens has not had in Boston.  Ironically, he is the player Stevens groomed in college to become a productive NBA player.

Here is some of what Ron Mahoney of The Crossover said about Gordon Hayward:

"“Hayward might not be Boston’s leading scorer next season, but the range of what he brings to the table makes him the Celtics’ best player. It’s not just offense; Hayward has a proven track record guarding both wing positions at a high level and is strong enough to dabble at power forward if the situation calls for it. The scope of his offerings opens the door to all kinds of creative solution. Should the offense stall, Hayward’s role could be easily shifted to find a new opening. If a particular defensive matchup becomes a problem, Hayward could take it on or switch capably mid-possession. These are the luxuries that coaches crave. With Hayward, so many of them come standard.”"

Mahoney’s main argument for Gordon Hayward is the versatility he brings to the offense.  As an evolutionary player, Hayward is a player who could be featured on the offense.  He could run free off screens, cut to the hoop, has the vision to pass the ball and can also go isolation.

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With a player like Kyrie Irving driving to the hoop, Hayward should have plenty of opportunity to find open spaces to score.  In that respect, he will be the Celtics best player in 2017-18.  How far Boston goes this season will depend on how quick and effectively Hayward and Irving adapt to the Brad Stevens way of basketball. 

Hayward is where he should be

I have no issue with Gordon Hayward’s ranking.  While I expect Kyrie Irving to rank higher than Hayward within the next couple seasons, Hayward’s overall game makes him one of the quieter stars in the league.

That could change now that he is in Boston, but the former Utah Jazz star seems to prefer being under the radar.  In a media market like Boston, that may not be a possibility unless Hayward produces consistently at a high level.

Next: Boston Celtics 2017 player preview and predictions: Kyrie Irving

The Celtics did lose Avery Bradley as a result of the Hayward signing, but he is a definite upgrade who has the opportunity to shine on a bigger stage.