The time to hesitate is through.
Nice article from our friend Jay King on CelticsTown. Here's a blurb.
Full disclosure: Jeff Green confuses me. I watch him play, and I wonder why he’s not more productive. I wonder why he’s not more willing to take a game by the throat and make his mark on it. I wonder why he hasn’t scored in double figures during any of his last six games, despite possessing a skill set that allows him to score from anywhere. I wonder why he’s not more of a matchup problem, despite theoretically being too quick for power forwards and too big for small forwards. Basketball comes easy to Jeff Green, it often looks like, but he still hasn’t made his presence felt consistently in Boston.
I suppose only time will tell if Jeff Green is going to "make his presence felt" or not. I'm really, really pulling for him because I like his skillset and he seems like such a nice guy that wants to do well for his team. That said, he'll have to prove himself on the biggest stage - the playoffs. If he can do that, I am confident that he'll be a Celtic for a long time.
In the mailbag (I'll be getting around to that but boy are there a lot of questions - I might answer an eighth of them if I'm lucky) someone asked an interesting question. "Is Jeff Green clutch?"
I had no idea, so (as I have done frequently in the last few weeks) I turned to my friend Dogburt over at Welcome to Loud City and put the question to him. Here's what I got.
I would say that he's probably closer to a Robert Horry than a Kobe Bryant on the "killer instinct" scale. Green has a very even temperament that keeps him from becoming too affected by the moment of the game. If you look at his playoff stats, there really isn't anything eye-popping about them. He doesn't get better as the games become more meaningful. In particular, Green didn't even average 5 rebounds per game in that series [against the Lakers], and that lack of a willingness to take on a physical role is one of the big reasons the Thunder traded him.
That said, his even keel does afford him the ability to take big shots and not be affected by the moment. So I don't think it's reasonable to expect Green to get after it the way Tony Allen used to do for the Celtics, but he's also less likely to get rattled and hit shots/free throws when it matters.
I think we'd all take a Robert Horry type killer instinct if he can prove to be that reliable in the clutch. So far Doc has not used him at the end of games and I wonder if that is more for defensive reasons or comfort level or what. If anything, I think it would be great to have another versatile scorer out on the floor that doesn't get rattled and could read and react to the crazy circumstances that inevitably arise in the final minutes. With that said, he has also scored more readily in transition than in the half court set, so perhaps that is holding him back as well.
I also fear that he's just plain too deferential. Ray Allen is a nice guy too, but he's also a stone cold assassin. The game came easy to Tracy McGrady but that didn't stop him from dominating when he put his mind to it. (note: I'm not comparing his game to those guys, just his demeanor) It would seem that Green needs to find that extra gear and go for the throat of his opponents if he's going to fulfill his potential.
Regardless, we'll see what stuff he's really made of in the coming weeks and months. If it wasn't for all the injuries, I'd call him the biggest X factor headed into the playoffs. I am holding out hope that we'll him develop into a game changer when we need him the most, but who knows?
Bonus Link (from another old friend Greg Payne): No more Mr. Nice Guy for Green - ESPN Boston
Bonus Link 2: From Zach Lowe - The Point Forward - Green not living up to Celtics’ hopes … yet
Yup, another Bonus Link: From Dogburt - The Celtics and Jeff Green: How Is Green Faring? - Welcome to Loud City