Jeff Green: Embracing Change


Chirs Bosh doesn't like change.....


February 25, 2011. Sound familiar? It should, that was the day Jeff Green was traded to the Boston Celtics, and a day fans will soon regard as a franchise changing moment.

Now before I go any further I feel the need to explain myself a little. When the Boston Celtics traded (one of my all time favorite players) Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder I was in shock. Sure Perkins was coming off a bad injury, plus we had Shaq (who would later break down while walking up the court) and Jermaine O'Neal (no explanation necessary) but how could we trade Perk? This guy was the epitome of Celtics basketball with his tough defence, hard screens and menacing scowl.

"So what were we getting in return?" is the question I found myself asking, the answer, Jeff Green. At the time Green was still living in Kevin Durant's shadow in OKC, forced in the corner to shoot spot up 3's and constantly getting bullied down low by bigger and taller power forwards. Green looked out of place in OKC, so maybe he would be a better fit in Boston. Hey the guy's name is Green, that has to be good luck, right?

When Jeff Green first arrived in Boston he looked hesitant. Hesitant to fit in with new people, they're a pretty tight bunch over there in OKC, and even more hesitant to fit into a new system of professional basketball.

We saw flashes of Jeff Green's skill set in the latter half of the 2011 season. When called upon off the bench, Green could be found posting up smaller defenders and shooting over them with a nice hook. On rare occasions one might even find Green soaring to the rim in transition or draining corner 3 pointers.

Fast forward to next season, new season, new team, freshly signed contract, and then BAM. Jeff Green will miss the entire season due to a heart condition. What a tease am I right? I mean thank God that the doctors were able to catch this before it was too late but personally, I could not wait to see what Jeff Green was going to do.

But as Jeff Green was rehabbing and preparing for next season, the league was changing.

Teams all around the league began changing how they played, especially on the front lines. In the past few years the league has seen the decline of the big man, the traditional center, and teams have been inserting athletic power forwards to take their spot.

Come the 2012-2013 NBA season, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kenneth Faried, Thaddeus Young, all players that seemed a little small for a prototypical NBA Power Forward where getting the nod at the 4 for their respective teams.

With these new smaller, more athletic, more spaced out line-ups NBA basketball had changed. Instead of the old "pound the ball inside with size" tactics, NBA teams were sacrificing size for athletic ability and skill, starting players like J.J Hickson (listed at 6'9) at center.

Enter Jeff Green.

It's safe to say that Jeff Green had a breakout season this year, especially after the All-Star Break. Green finished the year averaging 20.3 PPG 5.3RPG and 2.3 APG during the playoffs. Celtics fans got to see what Jeff Green is truly capable of, beating slower defenders off the dribble for hard drives to the hoop, posting up smaller defenders for high percentage shots down low, great spot up shooting, and running transition lanes like a gazelle.

Jeff Green Full Highlights 2013.03.18 vs Heat - 43 Pts. (via Dawk Ins)

During the dark days after we lost James Posey to free agency and before we traded for Jeff Green I can clearly remember my fellow Celtics fans crying out for an "athletic small forward", the term still haunts me because I remember seeing it in the comments section of almost every post.

It seems we have gotten our wish in the form of Jeff Green. A player who is capable of scoring 20+ points on any given night, put pressure on opposing defences by running the floor, and is capable of guarding the Lebron's, Durant's, and Melo's of the NBA.

We may not have good 'ole Perk to intimidate other team's starting center, but do we really need him now that the league has apparently gone small? Kendrick Perkins is not as valuable as he used to be, just look at his impact for OKC this year, and this is coming from one of Perk's biggest fans.

Big bruising centers are no longer a necessity in the NBA, they are a luxury. It may be a sad truth but the game is changing, the best thing we as fans can do is embrace the change, sit back, and watch Jeff Green thrive.

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