Celtics' Brad Stevens says no lineup changes coming yet, despite Gordon Hayward's willingness to come off bench

The Boston Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference finals last season despite going through the playoffs without a number of players, including Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Everyone expected that the return of that talented duo would lead to the Celtics becoming an Eastern Conference powerhouse this season, but it hasn't happened. At least not yet. 

Nearly a month into the regular season, the Celtics are just 7-6, sitting at fifth place in the East, and already four and a half games behind the Toronto Raptors. As they look for ways to turn things around, a common suggestion is a change to the starting lineup. In fact, one player has even made it clear that he's willing to move to the bench. 

Speaking to the Gary Washburn, Gordon Hayward said he's open to a change if it helps the team win. Via the Boston Globe:

"For me, I'm happy to be on the court, No. 1 more than anything and, No. 2, whatever I can do to help us win,'' Hayward said at the Auerbach Center in Brighton. "I said it before the season, it's whatever to me.

"We have to figure something out because for whatever reason we're not playing our best basketball right now.

While Hayward's outward willingness to do whatever is best for the team is clear, it doesn't appear that he'll have to move to the bench -- at least not right now. Head coach Brad Stevens said on Wednesday that he's not anticipating any changes to the starting rotation just yet. 

"I think ultimately, I'm going to let us have a chance to play better. I think that's where we are. Hopefully, I'll coach better and we'll play better," Stevens said on a Boston radio station. 

It's easy to see why people are clamoring for a change to the lineup in Boston, and why Hayward is a choice to be replaced. The Celtics are really struggling right now, and have a number of players on the bench who could easily be starters on other teams. As for Hayward, he's shooting just 39 percent from the field and hasn't regained his rhythm on the floor after missing all of last season. 

At the same time, it's easy to see why Stevens wants to stick with this rotation. The current starting lineup features the team's five most talented players, and longterm offers them their best chance for success. If in another few weeks things aren't looking better, or have even gotten worse, then he might go ahead with a change. But for now, it's still early enough that Stevens wants to give this group a chance to figure things out. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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