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Our Best Hope For Banner 18, ...Jeff Green?

The Celtics missed out on David West and it seems like Chris Paul may just be stuck in New Orleans for a while. The Celtics finished signing the paperwork for the rookies and camp invite free agents. The team still has a $3M mini-mid level exception they can use, but beyond that there's a real good chance that this is the team headed forward. (Update 1: reports are that Danny used the mini-mid level on Wilcox, so he's getting $3M for 1 year.)

This same team wasn't able to get by the Miami Heat last year. Yes, Rondo finished out the series with one arm, but the team looked largely overmatched even when he was healthy. It is anyone's guess how they would have fared against the Bulls in the next round had they found a way to beat the Heat.

Keep in mind, the Big 3 stayed relatively healthy all year and had very solid seasons. If the team hopes to do anything, we have to make sure they all maintain relative health and don't fall off too much statistically.

I do believe that the team has upgraded at the backup power forward spot by replacing Glen Davis with Brandon Bass. Time will tell if Dooling is an upgrade over Delonte West. Marquis Daniels adds some depth as long as he's healthy. Jermaine O'Neal is as always an injury question mark. Avery Bradley could surprise people, but personally I'm not putting his ceiling too high.

That leaves Jeff Green as our big hope for improvement. On one hand, he is better than the player that played in Boston for the last few months. I understand that most statistics show little difference on a per minute comparison to his days in OKC. Still, that doesn't account for how uncomfortable he looked out there. Not to mention the fact that he was still filling in at the 4 when the team was forced to push Big Baby to the 5 - a lineup that does nobody any big favors.

Update 2: Jeff Green is being held out of practice for a few days pending a few extra tests. When Ainge was asked if this would nullify the deal, he said "Oh, no, no, no. We’re not close to that yet. It’s just precautionary. Practice just started today officially when we had our whole team here. It will be resolved this week."

The hope is that this year he'll be able to find his groove a lot better. He'll hopefully be able to play a lot more small forward, only shifting over to power forward for certain favorable matchups. Hopefully he'll tap into that much talked about potential and improve one or more aspects of his game.

I kind of see him as a jack of all trades, master of none. He can do a little bit of everything but lacks that defining talent that makes him a legit building block. Just like we hope that Rondo can improve his jump shot, we can also hope that Green can get better at something that makes him blossom.

Perhaps Pierce can show him how to find a spot on the floor that he can always get to and always hit jumpers. For Pierce it is the top of the key. Maybe Rondo can figure out how to connect with him on the break more often. Maybe Doc can turn him into a plus defender. I don't know how realistic any of this is, but I do know that the guy has talent and at some point he'll either find his "thing" or he'll find himself playing big minutes for lottery bound teams for the rest of his career (pray that situation doesn't develop here in Boston).

Green has the ability to make himself a lot more money for the next few years. In addition, last season ended on a really sour note for Jeff and you can bet that he'd really like to get another chance to get it right. It isn't really fair that his legacy will always be somewhat tied to the Kendrick Perkins trade (he didn't make the trade).

He's got a golden opportunity here. He could absolutely surprise people and become a legit 6th man of the year candidate and more importantly help give the Celtics an added dimension to put them in position to contend for the Championship.

That's the hope at least. Perhaps that's a sad thought to many who don't have much faith in Green, but it is at least something. Stranger things have happened.

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