An argument for Gordon Hayward as Damian Lillard's replacement in All-Star game

The Celtics do-everything forward, Gordon Hayward, has been through the mill since coming to Boston in 2017. First it was a season lost with the devastating ankle injury and then a turbulent year of playing while still recovering and rehabbing. Portland's Damian Lillard has now announced that he will not participate in the All-Star game due to injuries, and Commissioner Adam Silver will choose his replacement. The Suns' Devin Booker has been mentioned as a logical substitute, but Gordon may be a more appropriate one.

Hayward participated in the 2017 All-Star contest when he was in Utah. His averages that season are compared below to his stats from this season:

2017 (Utah): 34.5 MPG, 21.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.5 APG, 47% FG, 40% 3P, 1.9 TOPG

2020 (Boston): 32.8 MPG, 17.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 51% FG, 39% 3P, 1.8 TOPG

The numbers are very similar, but that is not the whole story. The choice of Booker-as-replacement makes sense to a significant extent. He is doing it all for a Phoenix team that struggles. Booker definitely stands out.

But it has become obvious that Gordon has been deferring to teammates Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. It can be argued that Jaylen Brown should be the choice here, and that idea has merit. But Jaylen will have many more shots at All-Star competition down the road - Gordon Hayward - not so much.


Gordon's stats this season don't differ much from those of Booker, and Hayward's team has a 30-14 record in the games he has played. If questioned about all of this, Gordon would most likely indicate Jaylen Brown, or some other NBA player, deserves the honor. I disagree. How many players could have gone through the physical and emotional agony of his cringe-worthy injury in his very-first game as a Celtic - successfully make a comeback in a season filled with dissent and discord - not to mention the frequent "Trade Hayward" cries from many - and get back to All-Star level while deferring to three teammates that feel they need to succeed, individually, and as a team.

It is up to Adam Silver. Who knows where Gordon will be next season, or how well he will play. But right now, the timing and his quiet rise back to stardom merits the choice. Adam, do the right thing!

Fopllow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, @CausewayStreet and Facebook



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