When I was coaching JV basketball, two players on my team had no idea how good they could be.
They were bigger, more athletic, longer and more talented than my other players, yet often approached basketball similar to the way I approached school—they’d float in and out of consciousness, pay little attention and underachieve drastically even while getting decent grades. If they had only woken up with their mouths in a puddle of drool at the end of the game, they would have been exactly like I was in school. So I stayed on them, constantly. If they weren’t prepared to run through a wall every night, I was going to try to coax that mentality out of them.
I’m not saying Jeff Green’s like one of my JV players. He’s “slightly” more talented than they are. But he does have another level of play inside of him, and Doc Rivers knows it.
“Doc has been on me since the first day I was here,” Green told the Boston Herald.
Last night, Green wasn’t perfect. He shot 3-9 from the floor, so he didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard. Still, Rivers isn’t as concerned about Green’s offense. He’s a talented player capable of making a hook shot one play, draining a three the next, and catching an alley oop two plays later. Rivers firmly believes Green’s scoring will come around once he stops looking around and thinking, “Ehh, coach? That’s Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. I think I’ll defer tonight.”
Thus, it’s Green’s defense and rebounding that brings a smile to Doc’s face. And Green’s seven rebounds and three blocks might even keep Doc a little more quiet today.
“It was great,” Rivers told the Herald. “We got on him a little bit, and I thought he responded. For him, it has to be a repetitive act now. He has to do it in the next game and the game after that. It has to become a habit.”