What if Gordon Hayward's injury never happened? Playing out Celtics' 2017-18 season

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Darren Hartwell
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How would 2017-18 Celtics have fared without Gordon Hayward injury? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

If only the Boston Celtics had gotten this Gordon Hayward...

The veteran forward is enjoying a career season for the surprisingly good Charlotte Hornets after three underwhelming campaigns in Boston, where he never quite lived up to the maximum contract he signed with the Celtics in 2017.

That’s in part due to a stroke of terrible luck: Hayward suffered a gruesome, season-ending leg injury five minutes into his Celtics debut on Oct. 17, 2017. He never was quite the same in Boston before leaving for the Hornets last fall.

What if Wednesday: What if KD signed with C's in 2016 free agency?

But what if Hayward successfully converted Kyrie Irving’s alley-oop pass and never injured his leg? How good would the 2017-18 Celtics have been with Hayward, Irving, Al Horford and two young studs in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown?

Our partners at Strat-O-Matic used their advanced simulation software to play out that Celtics campaign with a healthy Hayward, producing full regular- and postseason results for Boston in addition to complete player stats.

Editors Note: Strat-O-Matic, the market leader in sports simulation, has partnered with NBC Sports Boston to build simulation experiences for "What If Wednesdays.” 

Let's dive into our takeaways from Strat-O-Matic's 2017-18 season simulation.

What if Gordon Hayward's injury never happened? Playing out Celtics' season.