After a disappointing debut for the Celtics at the end of the 2010-2011 season, many were critical of the rather large contract the Celtics signed Jeff Green to this offseason. However, Doc Rivers remained confident in Jeff Green despite his struggles during his brief time with the Celtics:
“Trying to do that on the run, with 25 games left, is nearly impossible,” Rivers said. “Trying to learn two positions, and ingratiating yourself with a group of guys, if I could have rethought that I probably would have just left him at one position and let him figure it out.”
It appears that Doc is a Jeff Green believer and has big plans for the young forward. Rivers wants Green overpowering his man at the three and out-running him at the four, serving as the primary backup to Pierce while still fitting nicely into the small ball lineups we’ve heard so much about. So far Green has been backing up his statements this summer about being more assertive during team practices in Turkey:
“Today, he seamlessly went from 3 to 4,” said Rivers. “It was easy for him. It wasn’t a forced issue. He looks great.”
Green says he’s at about 90%, but 90% of the Jeff Green we’ve grown accustomed to likely won’t cut it with his detractors. Fortunately, it looks like it won’t cut it with Green either. Despite receiving praise from Rivers as well as his teammates, Green says he isn’t satisfied yet and still has a list of things he wants to work on:
“Easy baskets. Hard cuts. Getting my guys open. Running the floor. Being aggressive on defense,” he said. “It’s not necessarily just being aggressive on offense.”
Green has a chance to be a game changer for the Celtics if he can finally live up to his potential. While he’ll have to prove it during the regular season, Green is at least making positive strides so far and that’s reason enough to be a little excited.