There will be no member of this team that will receive more scrutiny (and some times pure hatred) than Jeff Green this season. He has a bullseye on his back and he knows it. He's even attempting to embrace it. Until Rondo comes back, he's going to try his hand at being the #1 guy. Good luck with that.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a Jeff Green fan. At times last season, I even was an apologist. I was of the mindset that Jeff could do anything he wanted and he was being treated unfairly by most. That still reigns true today, but I've come down into the realms of reality much more.
All of us (including Jeff himself) are setting him up for failure. Last season, I said that Jeff could average 23/7/3-4 asts on the high end. However, I'd be happy with 20/6/3. I'm not going to say whether I still think this is possible or not, but here are a few things that we are forgetting about Jeff Green:
1. He's never been a great rebounder.
I will never understand the complaining about his rebounding. Jeff is 26 years old and has had a career season high of 6.7 rebounds in one season. Last year as a starter, he averaged 5.9 in 35 minutes. Obviously, I think these are all high end numbers for Jeff.
It's no secret that he will play some SG and mainly stick to SF this season. With this combo, I will be surprised if he averages 5 rebounds this season. He doesn't have a "nose for the ball" like Jared Sullinger. He likes to sprint back on defense after a missed shot. He's just not a rebounder and everyone knows it.
Why are we complaining about this? And with guys like Sully and Vitor who seem to gobble up rebounds, and even KO and Bass who can, maybe it's not all bad. However, I'm not going to complain about it.
2. Jeff actually improved in the preseason.
I think most people wanted Jeff to come out the gate being mini-LeBron. And it's absolutely warranted. Jeff had a great second half of the season last season. But it was just that - the second half of the season.
We forgot that he's a guy that has to warm up. We forgot he was a guy experiencing a new role and even new positions.We forgot he didn't start playing well until January last season.
In the preseason opener Jeff had 6 pts / 1 rebound / 2 asts off 2-7 shooting in 23 minutes. That's piss poor right there. In the last game of the preseason, his line was 12 pts / 4 rbd / 1 ast in 25 minutes off 2-7 shooting.
That says to me that he became more aggressive. He began to understand that he couldn't rely on jumpers and had to create something for himself. In almost the same amount of minutes, he increased his productivity. That's all we can ask from the guy and hope that he continues to improve in the season. I have a sneaky suspicion that his numbers after All-Star will probably be better than his Pre All Star. Because duh.
3. He's not a #1 guy, but could be an AWESOME #2.
Jeff has never had to be that guy. If you put him up against the likes of the #1 guys in the league he pales not only in stats, but I think also in demeanor and skill set. Jeff doesn't have the same thing that Carmelo has or LeBron has or Durant has. There's no comparison.
However, Jeff is obviously a great complimentary player. And if he's next to a guy that grabs a lot of attention, he can carve out places to go, spots to shoot from and have his way.
If Gerald Wallace continues on the up and up that could be huge for Jeff. If AB shoots at high percentages and if Vitor actually becomes an NBA Center (stretch), that could bode extremely well for Jeff.
I just think about his Georgetown team and how they played. And if you look at Hibbert these days, it's tough to say he's the #1 guy in Indiana, but he is a GREAT compliment to George, West, Granger. When it was just he and Granger, he didn't look like a max contract guy. My point is, Jeff is like that.
Many ask if Jeff could pad stats on a bad team and I say no. He pads stats on good teams.
4. He should probably be playing more 4 (PF).
This is merely opinion, but I liked Jeff at the 4 a lot last year. We are smaller and a bit weaker over here in the East. Our PFs aren't great and neither are our Cs. There's a lot of stretch 4's and guys that would probably be a SF or SG if a couple inches shorter.
Because of this, I think JG has an advantage on most PFs. He's obviously wild athletic, but he can stretch them out in defenses as well. To add to this point, I haven't been impressed with Jeff at SG.
5. We just need the guy to score.
Quite frankly, put the ball in the hoop dude. Rebounds, assists, etc. will come. And I think Jeff will get there.