Green Could Be A Problem This Season

 

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Jeff Green never makes it into the frame for the photo-op with the Celtics’ revamped Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo.

Spending a season in street clothes away from the court and the public consciousness has a way of forcing a player, even one as talented and accomplished as Green, into the background.

Green spent all of last season recovering from heart surgery, missing out on the Celtics’ run to the Eastern Conference finals and the Celtics’ missed out on all that the dynamic hybrid forward brings to the party.

He’s back now, in a major way. Anyone who has seen the Celtics during the preseason has seen it. He’s flying around on both ends of the floor and making plays at the rim (check out that block above) and in transition in ways that no other player on the Celtics’ current roster can.

A 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward with the length and athleticism to match up against power forwards and the range and ballhandling skills to work on the perimeter as well, Green brings another dose of firepower to the Celtics’ attack (along with newcomers Courtney Lee and Jason Terry) that was lacking last season.

We’re not saying that a healthy Green pushes the Celtics past the Heat in that conference finals clash last season, but you never know …

Green’s teammates, particularly Garnett, might feel otherwise.

There’s no doubt they love having him back now, as Garnett made clear to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald in assessment of Green’s play to date:

The 6-foot-9 multipurpose weapon, nine months removed from heart surgery, was a wonder in the preseason as he went for 13.9 points on 49.4 percent shooting. But there’s more to it than merely numbers, even the eight blocked shots. Green took hold of the different tasks he was given and showed himself to be a large and athletic force.

In sum, he has been what the Celtics hoped they were getting when Kendrick Perkins was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the controversial February 2011 trade. (The C’s also got a draft pick that turned into Fab Melo.)

So when Kevin Garnett compares Green to Hall of Famer James Worthy and gushes, “Jeff’s a lot more aggressive than I can remember, man,” well, there are circumstances in play.

“Look, when he came from Oklahoma City he was 24 and a three-year starter who was playing 35 minutes a game,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. “That’s really valuable experience that’s hard to get in our league. And we thought that Jeff was continuing to improve and was on a good track getting better and better. And I don’t think that this procedure that he went through, the surgery, was going to prohibit that at all and limit him in any way, other than just the time off the court and needing to get back in shape and all that. But Jeff is a player that’s still improving. I don’t think he’s reached his full potential yet.”

He showed an occasional sign of things to come during the last few months of the 2010-11 season, but this is clearly a better Jeff Green.

“I think that’s a function of his team and his role,” Ainge said. “You know, when Jeff was playing with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (with the Thunder), I mean, they’re obviously the focal point. Then when he came to Boston, he was a guy that was trying to fit into a team that had four All-Stars on it.

“So I don’t see what’s happening now as just a function of, ‘Oh, I’m going to be more aggressive.’ I mean, when you’re in a certain role, it’s tough to just take that initiative on yourself. That has to be a function of the team and your role within that team, how your coach sees that role. So I just don’t think that it’s that simple.”

What’s simple is the fact that the Celtics, despite not having the overflowing resources to do so, have once again found a way to reshape their roster in pursuit of the top spot in the Eastern Conference (and by that standard, the Heat).

How much the Celtics, and specifically coach Doc Rivers, relies on Green this season remains to be seen. As TNT’s David Aldridge pointed out in this week’s Morning Tip, that seemingly odd mix of players Rivers was forced to use last season because of injuries and other issues, will probably change this season now that the ranks have been replenished.

Green gives Rivers options he simply did not have last season, an X-factor, so to speak, that his coaching counterparts around the league would love to have. And in turn, Green gets to play the role he was destined for all along, before the heart surgery and before he faded from the minds of so many in Boston.

He’s going to be a problem for the opposition this season, though. You can count on it!

14 Comments

  1. dashka says:

    Modern day Scottie Pippen, but I think Boston should trade him for a upgrade in thier center.

  2. Sponz says:

    How quickly you all forget JT’s impact on the 2011 post season. Remember the Lakers series? JET is an impact player, a great weapon off the bench and in the 4th. It remains to be seen whether age has caught up with him, but make no mistake, he can ball with the best of them.

  3. charles says:

    Green was a fantastic pickup. but the celtics took a significant risk given that he had a heart condition. That risk may be in position to payoff big time! I think having superstars like Garnet and Pierce and Rondo who are all about the team and all about winning is going to let Jeff Flourish. At the same time, Pierce needs to play significantly less minutes in the regular season and the cletics now have a man in Green capable of filling those minutes without much of a letdown. That allows for Jeff to get better over the season and allows Pierce to keep his energy and health for the playoffs. With Bradley and Lee as shooting guards I actually think the Celtics are better in that department relative to last year. Those guys are very active and athletic and when you have a couple of old guys like Pierce and Garnett in the team, it really helps to have a couple of high energy athletes as shooting guards.

  4. eddysamson says:

    Since when does 18/26 3 pointerss in the preseason, 50% in the 2012 post season, and 44% in the finals they won make some one overrated?

    SEEMS TO ME like those stats justify the hype. ESPECIALLY when you consider JET allowed the 2nd least points by whoever he was defending this preseason WITHOUT SENDING ANYONE TO THE LINE. Hes got the D too, HES WORTH THE HYPE!

  5. Hey thanks a lot! I usage earbuds away from home because from the portability, even though I favor over all the ear. These check great.

  6. anthony says:

    jason terry overated? how dumb is that….. he has shown that he can still score off the bench and his defense isnt good, but everybody knows that

  7. joe says:

    as a Heat fan, I whole heartedly put down Miami’s championship to how well Boston challenged them. Boston pushed them into a corner in game 5, and miami had to find that championship drive to comeback and win two straight.
    I too think Jason Terry is over hyped, but can’t deny that Boston is looking very strong this year. Time will tell with fatigue, injuries, etc., but I can’t deny that they aren’t a legit threat.

  8. Madubbs says:

    Celtics and Heat Eastern Conference Finals, Boston Upsets Miami. Ray Allen Goes Home And Cries.

  9. Kamote says:

    the team with no bench and limping allen and pierce last season that took the mighty heat to 7 games now has that bench that is even better than the one they’ve had when they won the ring. I may be having my hopes high this year, but this is the time the C’s can actually win it all.

    The addition of Terry, Lee, Barbosa, JD, Green (because he didn’t actually helped much last year) might not be the blockbuster summer moves everyone hoped for like what LAL did. But this is what the team needs. They just need to add able bodies to give ample rest to the big 3 (rondo replaces allen) and give Doc the options he never had before. Ray Allen would’ve been a 6th man anyway to Bradley, though he’s the best shooter there is… but having Terry, Barbosa and Lee should make up for it. Now Green can be that hybrid forward to give ample rest to KG and Pierce but still be productive.

    I just do hope that when the C’s and the Heat face in other in the playoffs, there would be no injured players on both teams. Then there would be no more excuses, just a score to settle :).

  10. ko0kie says:

    the boston celtics one again have an intriguing roster.. if jeff green can keep up this shooting % (and 3P%) and avery bradley comes back as strong as he was last year they can make a deep playoff run.. of course it all depends on the health of KG and rondo.. without those key players they aren’t going anywhere. Paul Pierce is still a good player but he is not crucial as those former two.

    I like the addition of courtney lee and jason terry although I think jason terry is overrated.

    • Angelo says:

      Jason Terry Overrated? He was the 2nd leading scorer of Dallas Mavericks for couple of years. A sixth-man of the year candidate year in and year out. He provides energy and much needed points off the bench averaging roughly 18 to 20 points a night and has the ability to explode any given time. He dutifully responded for the Mavs in the Finals when Dirk was struggling offensively.