Suppose Jeff Green Doesn't Improve

LeBron James - Miami Heat v Boston Celtics- Game Three

I really don't have any specfic recollection of watching Jeff Green do much of anything on the floor as a Boston Celtic. Do you? What I do recall is a general feeling of being underwhelmed. A quick look at his stats page on ESPN tells us that he played 26 games for the Boston Celtics after being acquired for Kendrick Perkins during the spring of the 2010-11 season. He averaged 9.8 points per game in about 24 minutes, adding less than one assist, one steal, and one block per game. He shot .794 from the field, .296 from three, and grabbed a grand total of 3.3 rebounds per night.

Underwhelming indeed.

The other day Florida Celts Fan suggested that it is not unreasonable to expect more from Green this year. Why? The heart surgery may be his wake up call to utilize his multidimensional talents before its too late. I like this idea. We all understand how life-threatening experiences can summon something within us. I also like this idea as applied to Jeff Green more than I do say, oh, I don't know, Chris Washburn or Sean Williams, who have or had as much raw talent as anyone, but were far away from ever harnessing it in a meaningful and consistent fashion.

But you know what?

I'm OK if JG doesn't really improve much at all, so long as he can accomplish one task.

Defend the opposing oversized, impact wings. You know who I'm talking about. LeBron James, Andre Iguodala, and maybe even Kevin Durant. This would be a god send for extending Paul Pierce's career, and making Paul Pierce more productive next year.

Hopefully, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry will live up to expectations and become difference makers in their own right. But if we expect much from the Celtics as a team, Paul Pierce will need to at least approach his success from younger days if the C's are to get anywhere next season. That not only requires less PT so he is rested when the game is on the line, but also less PT to reduce the opportunities for getting injured.

I know I'm in the minority on this one, but nearly all athletically gifted 6-8 NBA wings should be able to figure out how to play effective defense. Maybe not Dennis Rodman defense, but perhaps the next level below.

Can Jeff Green do this?

I'll be a watchin'.


Lex said...


Playoffs: 7.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 19.2 mpg

Regular season: C-minus

Green played some of his best defense of the season on LeBron James. He's still far too hesitant, but he did have a few good moments in Game 5.

5/17/11 BOSTONH

In the Celtics swan song, Wednesday's 97-87 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Green had nine points and was on the court in the final minutes of a tight game.

On consecutive possessions, Green missed a driving layup and had a Paul Pierce pass slip through his hands out of bounds, which was followed by LeBron James' game-sealing 3-pointer.

The up-and-down Game 5 was a microcosm of Green's stint with the Celtics.

Lex said...

So it was that an audible groan flowed down from the Garden stands in the first half Saturday when Jeff Green passed up an open shot. It is clear the people know what he can do and desperately want him to be, you know, Jeff Green.

"Yeah, I know," Green said yesterday after producing six points and, of far greater importance, strong defense in the 97-81 victory against Miami in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. "That was a shot I should have taken.

"And the crowd is always into it. Every play, every movement — they're always in tune to what's going on out on the floor."

Green then tried to defend his occasional reluctance, saying, "I've got to just play my game. You know, playing with these guys, you tend to follow their lead. Kevin (Garnett) has done everything possible in the NBA — win a championship, several All-Star Games — and watching him be unselfish, you follow that. But there are times where I should be aggressive."

But although more offense from Green would be nice, his job against the Heat is largely to bother LeBron James as much as he can. Green was 5 pounds tougher at both ends of the court Saturday, but his part (along with Paul Pierce) in holding James to 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting was most appreciated by his coach.

"He was huge," Doc Rivers said. "I mean, it's a great example where probably in Jeff's career he's been judged on points scored, and maybe for the first time in his career he was as valuable as he's ever been without scoring. He scored a couple points, but his defense, his pressure, getting up, his deflections, him running the floor, stretching the floor for other people — that's the Jeff Green we want to see every night. It was great. He has to keep doing that."

FLCeltsFan said...

I keep hoping that his underwhelmingness was a product of coming in late and still learning the system, which was totally different from OKC's as well as playing mostly the 3 where he had played the 4 previously. All those excuses are gone and this year we should see the real player. Let's hope he's worth the title shot we gave up by trading Perk midseason as well as worth the big contract he's got.

From talking with the fans in OKC they loved him because of his attitude and character, but were underwhelmed by his production. But then again, he was playing the 4 and I think he will be more effective as a 3.

Lex said...

I'm starting to warm up to the upside of this team, and Jeff Green may have the biggest upside.

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