FanPost

The Jeff Green Dilemma

At 6’9” and with the ability to post-up, shoot threes, catch alley-oops from Rajon Rondo in transition, and defend both forward positions, Jeff Green should be the third piece of the Celtics’ new Big Three. There is no doubt the all-star potential is there: just look at the way he torched his former team earlier this year for 19 points off the bench with a combination of swooping drives, dunks, jumpers, and free throws. However, as we have all seen and criticized, Green has been very inconsistent this year, his first season since undergoing open-heart surgery.

However, Doc Rivers’ management of Green’s minutes has been equally inconsistent. For whatever reasons, Doc has played Green 30 minutes one night, followed by 15 minutes the next. In the last two games, Green has seen 19 minutes and 15 minutes respectively. Although those were both Celtics wins, this is not our recipe for success.

As Jeff Green has shown throughout his career, he can put up 15/6/2 given the time to do so on the court. Here is a look at Green’s Per 36 min averages for his career via Basketball Reference:

Season

Team

TRB

AST

PTS

2007-08

OKC

6.1

1.9

13.4

2008-09

OKC

6.5

1.9

16.2

2009-10

OKC

5.8

1.6

14.7

2010-11

Total

5.3

1.6

14.8

2010-11

OKC

5.4

1.8

14.8

2010-11

BOS

5.1

1.1

14.9

2012-13

BOS

4.8

1.3

14.7

Career

5.9

1.7

14.8

The numbers actually show great consistency if he is given consistent minutes. Perhaps, this is still below his potential (I believe he has the talent to be a 20/8/4 guy if he is the first or second option and asserts himself properly – which is perhaps the ultimate issue), but this is exactly what the Celtics need in order to succeed this year and in the seasons to come.

As much as we want this to be Rajon Rondo’s team, he has proven over and over again that he can’t be that guy. He is a very good point guard who can do special things on the floor, but we need him to score 15-20 points a night and take the pressure off our aging stars (Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce). Countless times he passes up open shots; however this “unselfishness” is actually selfish in this case and his inflated assists numbers are insignificant. If he still does not have the confidence to take and make those shots, it proves the point that he still isn’t in the top echelon of point guards, with Chris Paul being the gold standard (Rondo got shown up by Grizzlies’ PG Mike Conley Jr. on January 2nd, one of several instances in which he has been outplayed and his defensive weaknesses have been emphasized. Rondo is not a good defender, despite what his steals per game or All-Defensive selections may indicate. He plays the passing lanes and has trouble keeping his guy in front of him, causing the entire defense to have to rotate on penetration to help.)

On this Celtics squad, with a gluttony of small forwards and power forwards (KG, Paul Pierce, Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass in addition to Green), it will be hard for Jeff Green to play 36 minutes a game. However, Doc and Danny need to find a way to have him on the floor for 30 minutes a night, a substantial increase over the 23 mpg he is getting now. If this means curtailing Pierce’s minutes (who has been struggling to shoot the ball thus far) or shipping Bass who has lost all his confidence from last year, than we should do so. Jeff Green not only needs to be a big piece of this year’s team, but as he enters his prime, he, Sullinger, and Rondo, can begin to form a new Big Three for the years to come.



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