With the most exciting moments of the offseason behind us, Celtics Town is counting down the Celtics’ roster from 16 to one. We’ll offer speculation on the role each player has to play, and where they’ll be in the rotation as we look towards the upcoming season. If you missed the last column in this series you can check it out here.
Depending on who you ask about Jeff Green you’ll get a lot of different words thrown around, but the one that sticks with me the most is ‘potential’ (usually proceeded by ‘will never live up to his’). From a statistical perspective, Tom Westerholm already wrote a fantastic piece on Jeff Green this summer, so I’ll spare you a bit of repetition and just tell you what I think:
Jeff Green has largely been a disappointment during his time in the league, and it’s not for lack of talent. Green isn’t really bad at anything, he hasn’t been great at much either but that probably has more to do with his passive personality than anything else. If you believed in Avery Bradley’s 20/3/2 game against New York at the end of the 2011 season, then you have to believe in Jeff Green’s 20/15/4 game against Washington as well. That guy is inside him, and maybe Falk is right and the heart surgery was just the kick in the pants Jeff Green needed and he’s going to “come back with a lot more fire in his belly.” I don’t know if that’s true, I hope it is.
I like Jeff Green better as a three than a four. While he spent the beginning of his career as a power forward, he mirrors the size and athleticism of premiere NBA small forwards Durant and LeBron. Is he as good as those guys? No of course not, but he has the physical tools hang with them at both ends of the court. And that’s why this year Jeff Green has one job: Guard LeBron. There’s no one else on the Celtics who can do it. I don’t know if anyone in the league can do it, period, but if the Celtics are going to find their way back to the finals Green will have to at least slow him down a little.
Looking forward I think Jeff Green could be a big part of the Celtics future. Instead of languishing as a tweener he could excel at both forward spots, too strong for threes and too quick for fours. He can shoot, pass, and rebound (when he feels like it). He already has a bit of a post game, which should be a boon for him as he continues to develop. He’s a smart and versatile player who fits into the variety of lineups. If Jeff Green lives up to his potential he could be a steal at the rumored $32 million over four years. But that’s a pretty enormous if.
You can follow Jordan on Twitter, @OffensiveG.