When Jeff Green arrived in Boston, a lot of fans like myself were upset about the guy leaving town and wanted to see exactly what we got in return for him. The most frustrating part about those few months was the waiting. It always felt like we were waiting for him to ...do something.
It was a tough situation to walk into, no question. But I was just expecting more from a guy that was being billed as this versatile and talented player that we just acquired. When the season ended and he signed a 1 year deal to return, the thinking was that he'd prove himself worthy. That obviously didn't happen because of his heart condition. So now he's signed up long term and the lingering question is "what did we just sign up for?"
From his own mouth came these words a few weeks ago (via Celtics.com)
"I'll still be the same player, but I think just my outlook on the time I have in this league has changed," he said. "I think I have to be more assertive, more aggressive, in different areas. Not necessarily just scoring. I just have to change my outlook and my approach of the game, and that time that I had off and just seeing certain spots on the floor where I can help really helped my mindset."
That's a good start. Talking the talk is the first step. Sounds like he's still trying to walk the walk and get that aggressiveness into his mindset.
He’ll probably spend that time contemplating moments such as yesterday, when his hesitancy with the ball led to a mild lecture by Doc Rivers from a timeout. The Celtics coach, who is trying to unlock the secret to Green’s obvious talent, had a simple message. Shoot or drive. Do something. Green quietly leaned against the scorer’s table and absorbed the critique. His goal is to move on from this, to finally fit in.
Obviously it is way too early to see if he's turned a new leaf in terms of being aggressive or not. He hasn't even played a game yet. I just don't know if I should be encouraged that he's working on it or worried because he has to work so hard at it. KG, as always, is optimistic and supportive.
"I don't think we've seen the best of Jeff. J-Green has a lot of skill, man," said Garnett. "There's times where, like all of us, he thinks a lot. He's no different. But you see his skill, you see that confidence coming. It's a process, but you kind of marvel at how good he is. No, I don't think we've tapped into that resource yet."
In Doc Rivers we trust. He's got to get the most out of Jeff and the rest of this team and he's as good a coach as there is in the league. Here's hoping that he can push the right buttons and Jeff can flip his mindset enough to become (and stay) more aggressive on the court.
He is so talented, all I want is for him to use that talent.