If Gordon Hayward goes on to have an All-Star caliber season, Danny Ainge likely will point to a late-November practice as the catalyst for his turnaround.
In an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" on Thursday morning, the Boston Celtics' president of basketball operations discussed some of the struggles that have plagued Hayward early in the 2018-19 campaign.
"Gordon is overcoming a lot of different things," Ainge said. "And one of them is just trying to fit in ... and how much he should be trying to do with a team that's talented.
"It was more just like, 'Go take it. Go take the opportunity that you have and make it work instead of trying to feel your way through it and fit in with the team. No, go be Gordon Hayward."
According to Ainge, though, the Celtics saw flashes of the "old Hayward" in practice earlier that week.
"He had one practice last week that was I think very inspirational," Ainge said. "Not just to him, but it was inspirational to the whole team, where he did that very thing.
"He was a dominant player in practice. He wasn't just a good player and improving. He was dominant. And I think he turned the corner there a little bit."
MORE CELTICS: These two stats sum up Hayward's improvement
One game does not a turnaround make, and the 28-year-old still has to play with more consistency. But he appears to be finding his groove after returning from last year's gruesome ankle injury -- and Ainge sees only brighter days ahead.
"I think Gordon is going to be a player that's better in the second half of the year than he is right now," Ainge added. "He's going to continue to make improvement. ... I think we're going to see a more consistent Gordon than we have this first month and a half."
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