Gordon Hayward says the Celtics are ready to become kings of the East.
During media appearances Thursday at a “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” event in Cambridge, Hayward expressed confidence in his team, while also playing up the strength of the Eastern Conference. “The East is still going to be a tough conference; I think a lot of people are writing the East off,” he told reporters, per ESPN. “There were some surprises last year in the East, and there are still going to be teams that have young talent that gained a lot of experience last year that will be tough matchups for us. That said, I’m confident that we’ve got everything we need to make the run at the whole thing.”
The already beleaguered East became much weaker when LeBron James signed with the Lakers, placing the last seven active MVP winners in the West. The East reclaimed some respectability earlier this week, when the Spurs shipped disgruntled forward Kahi Leonard to the Raptors.
“Toronto was a good team with DeMar, so with Kawhi, they’ll be just as good,” Hayward said. “He changes them a little bit. They’ll for sure be a good team. I still like our chances, and I feel like we’ve got enough to win the whole thing. He’s a guy that will add some toughness to their team defensively, a little versatility. He’s a two-time defensive player of the year, so he’s always a matchup problem out there on the wing. We’ll be ready for him.”
Even with the Raptors adding Leonard, the Celtics enter the season as conference favorites, with Kyrie Irving and Hayward set to return to a team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals without them last season. Hayward, who missed the entire year after injuring his ankle on opening night, seems especially anxious for camp to start. He told Boston.com he can finally dunk again.
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Source: GreenStreet Blog