Jeff Green showed flashes of his potential after Rajon Rondo went down with a torn ACL last season, averaging over 17 points and five rebounds per game in the months of March and April. His preeminent performance came against LeBron James and the Miami Heat, when he scored 43-points on 14-of-21 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, and four blocks. Even though the Celtics lost, in one night Green managed to set fan's expectations for him this coming season.
In Chris Forsberg's most recent installation of his "Summer Forecast," Celtics Bloggers were asked about their expectations for Jeff Green. Here are our responses:
I expect Jeff Green to take the progress he made last year and stretch it out over a full season. That means being a more consistent scorer and a better defender and developing his versatile game into coach Brad Stevens' game plan. I'd rather not put any additional expectations on him, though they may be unavoidable.
Celtics fans look over the East landscape and they a conference dominated by small forwards like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Luol Deng, and yes, Paul Pierce in Brooklyn. Can Jeff Green join that elite class? My gut tells me no. Next season, people are going to expect Green to make that next leap in his development. That means being a No. 1 option on a team that's going to struggle to score all year, but that's just not his game. Green excelled in the second half of last year working off of Pierce and Garnett, either slashing into the lane or drifting to the corner for a 3. Paul and KG are gone now, but Green will be aided by the return of Rajon Rondo and the floor spacing provided by shooting bigs Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. He'll be a steady No. 2 who will electrify the crowd with the occasional throwdown, but don't expect him to be The Man in 2014. However, I do expect Green to up the ante on defense. With a lot of the firepower at the 3 spot in the East, every night is going to be a challenge, but JG should be a candidate for the All-Defensive Team.
I predict that Jeff Green will average close to 20.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. I don't think he will make it to the All-Star game, but he will prove to be a valuable contributor on a potential contender in the future.
On April 1st I wrote an article titled "Jeff Green and Production: A Guide to Consistency" because I wanted to test my theory that Green was a superior player when he averaged over 35-minutes per game. In short, my findings were consistent with what I had expected; when Green plays more minutes he because a more efficient player on a minute-by-minute basis. Down the stretch of the year, I believe we saw Green take his game to another level when he was able to develop a rhythm.
With Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett now in Brooklyn, Green will get the chance to be "the man" and play almost 40-minutes per game. I still don't think Green has potential to be a All-Star, but he can be a great player on this roster and I look forward to seeing how he performs.