NBA skills coach and Pure Sweat Basketball CEO Drew Hanlen has been working with Boston Celtics small forward Gordon Hayward this summer as Hayward makes his way back onto the court after suffering a fractured left ankle in the Celtics’ season-opening loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 17.
Hayward had a procedure on May 31 to remove a plate and screws from his surgically repaired left leg. Since then, he's been in the gym ramping up his workouts.
Appearing on the Hoops Hype podcast with Alex Kennedy, Hanlen says Hayward is up to full-speed workouts now.
"He’s doing really well," Hanlen told Kennedy. "He’s up to full-speed workouts now, so he’s able to cut and play and do everything; there are no limitations in his workouts. Then, in the next week or two, he’s going to be able to start competing again, which is awesome because then we can begin to make adjustments and do stuff as he starts playing live – that’s super important so we can make sure everything we’re working on translates into games."
Hayward was training in Indianapolis working with a running mechanics specialist in March. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and coach Brad Stevens have both said Hayward is on track to participate in training camp in September.
Hanlen added that right now, Hayward is working on primarily isolation drills so the swingman can get better at creating his own shot off the dribble.
"His biggest thing is being able to create his own shot," Hanlen said. "We want him to be able to create his own shot better. Playmaking is our No. 2 focus – being able to drive-and-kick and find shooters and just become a better passer. Then, No. 3 is giving him a mid-post game because we know a lot of teams in the NBA are starting to switch 1-through-4 or 1-through-5 and especially with the Celtics, with Al Horford playing as their 5 sometimes. We know a lot of teams are going to switch 1-through-5 and Gordon can be involved as a screener and get smaller guys on him. Basically, his main thing is isolation stuff, whether it’s mid-post or perimeter-oriented, and then becoming a better playmaker so that he can continue to make plays with all of those talented guys that the Celtics have around him."
With both Hayward and point guard Kyrie Irving expected to be healthy next season, the Celtics are primed to contend for a championship. Without Irving and Hayward during this year’s postseason, Boston took LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, so one would surmise it will be even more lethal with their two stars back.