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Jeff Green, Utility Infielder

Nobody can guard LeBron, but he seemed to do  particularly well against Green.
Nobody can guard LeBron, but he seemed to do particularly well against Green.

Yes, we're going to talk about Jeff Green again.  Well, I am.  You are welcome to take the conversation in a different direction if you want.  Green opened up his mouth in a period of time where there's nothing else to talk about so just about every writer jumped on the opportunity to give their updated thoughts on the man, and I'm no exception.

This blurb by Paul Flannery rings very true in my head.

In defense of Jeff Green - WEEI | Paul Flannery

Green needs the Celtics to help him get meaningful, consistent minutes, but they need him to make to develop, as well. While allowing that a 25-year-old player still has room to improve, Green’s shortcomings seem to be the classic case of being good at many things but not great at any one or two. Players across the league either make that transition or fall by the wayside. Green is talented, but this seems like the point in his career where he needs to define his game and carve out his niche. 

Green is the classic Jack of All Trades, Master of None.  Or put another way, he's a utility infielder right now.  He can fill in at multiple positions but he's not good enough at any of them to oust the starter or even create a platoon situation.

I suppose, as Flannery suggests, that it is too early to write him off.  I'm sure less talented players have developed a niche later in their careers than Green.  In the right situation he should be able to focus on a few things and establish himself as a solid rotation guy for many years.

There are, however, two big issues getting in his way of doing that in Boston.  

First he is a free agent, and if he's going to stay here, he and the team are going to have to agree on his value.  Ideally there would be a one year deal that let him prove his worth (be it the qualifying offer or even a higher one year deal to keep him from jumping to another team for more years).  But the owners and executives of NBA teams have proven that they are hardly the most rationale of sorts when it comes to spending their own money and all it takes is one GM to be convinced that Green is worth multiple years at 8 to 10M per money.

Second, there is the issue of expectations.  Through little fault of his own, Green has a huge target on his back with fans and the media.  Instead of being allowed to prove himself on his own merit, he has to live up to several legacies.  He has to be as valuable as Perkins to justify the trade.  Doc talked about him playing a James Posey type of role.  He replaced both Tony Allen and Marquis Daniels at the backup wing position and doesn't play defense as well as either of them.  If we had signed him as a free agent, he might have been allowed to carve out his own piece of legacy, but that didn't happen and he has to play with the cards he's been dealt.

Will he sink or will he swim?  Will he stay or will he go?  There are many questions with Jeff Green and we don't have a lot of answers right now, but that won't stop us all from talking about it.

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