If anyone needed a great start to the season it was Jeff Green. There are few players on the Celtics facing more questions than him. The Trade, the heart problems, the contract, it all adds up to a lot of scrutiny. Heading into camp he stated that his goal was to be more aggressive. It looks like he found the "go" button, ...with an assist from Doc Rivers.
In the first half Green was pretty solid. He was doing all the Jeff Green things that he does good but not great. There were a few highlight plays and he ran the break well, but it wasn't anything to write home about (or write a blog post about for that matter).
Enter Doc Rivers. His team was down 7 heading into the 4th quarter and he had already played his starters and rotation guys as much as he would want in a game they were treating as an exhibition. So it was time to throw the end of rotation guys out there and let them play. But with Wilcox nursing a bad back the numbers said someone from the top of the rotation had to be out there with them. Green has young legs and is probably eager to play, so why not him?
I'lll go a step further though. I'll bet that Doc wanted to put Jeff in a position where he was clearly the best player on the floor and clearly the leader of the offense. Make him the go-to guy and run the offense in a way that features him. Basically forcing him to be aggressive. If that was the plan, it worked to perfection. If it wasn't, well, it all worked out well anyway.
Green looked for his shot. He drove the lane and finished around the basket. The defense had no real answer for him. He was even the go to guy in the final seconds when they still had a chance to steal it. He came up short on those few plays, but that doesn't discount the excellent 4th quarter he had.
Scalabrine compared him to James Worthy - at least in terms of his body type and athleticism. Obviously that's a lofty bar to reach for, but you can see a potential for similar types of games. Again, he's really going to be valuable on the break and it sure looks like Rondo is excited about pushing the ball up the court.
It was just one game - and really one quarter - against a European team to boot. But it is hard not to be very pleased with this first effort from Jeff Green. We'll need plenty more of that if we want this year to go well.