The opening part of any journey will make anyone either nervous or fearful, sometimes a little of both. For the Boston Celtics, the beginning of the regular season will be a culmination of a crazy offseason in which one All Star Point Guard got traded for another, and Gordon Hayward came to the Eastern Conference.
For Hayward, he might’ve been the lowest key max deal signing in NBA history. That’s because everyone had him slated to go to Boston ever since Brad Stevens took the coaching position, or perhaps that Danny Ainge’s masterplan of hoarding high draft picks and cap space while getting fortunate with roster building worked out to the point where people wanted to play in Boston again.
However, during Sunday’s press conference, Hayward shared his excitement for Tuesday’s opener against the Cavs.
“We’re coming together nicely,” Hayward told reporters. “I think one thing that we have a lot of, is a lot of guys who can do multiple things. So a lot of versatility both offensively and defensively. And we have a lot of smart basketball players too, I think that’s gonna help us early because things aren’t gonna go smoothly. But if we’re smart, we use our heads, it’ll go a lot better for us.”
For Kyrie Irving, it’s a little different. Obviously getting dealt into a new environment is one thing, however when Irving was the agent of his own change, the circumstances are a little different. There’s the whole debacle on First Take and also his weird Twitter follows. Which genuinely might mean that Kyrie operates to the beat of his own drummer.
According to Irving though, outside of the geographical difference this season, everything else will remain the same.
“You set out some goals that you have as a team, we talk about those as we prepare,” Irving said. “Then you have goals individually that you want to hit and maintain as the season goes along. It’s all within the realm of benefitting the team as a whole, raising team play. It’s pretty normal, I’ve gotten used to it coming into the league. Obviously this isn’t your prototypical regular season I’m going into, being in a new environment., it sucks, but it’s still as exciting as ever, I’m looking forward to it.”
Like everyone else, the Celtics are looking forward to Tuesday as an early measuring stick to see how much further they need to gel and develop to properly contend for the Eastern Conference. However, not only are Hayward and Irving adjusting to new roles, rookie Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Semi Ojeyele, and Marcus Morris are all going to be tasked to do things outside of their comfort levels at times.
Whether the Celtics as a whole can function outside of those comfort zones is going to be the question the rest of the NBA needs answered – and it starts Tuesday night.