I’ve been holding off on a “Jeff Green is soooooooo much better than ever” article, largely because I didn’t want to overreact to a small preseason sample size when his four years in the NBA paint a different story.
But it certainly does seem like Green feels more comfortable than ever, and his production was probably the single most positive takeaway from preseason. He averaged 13.9 points with 4.9 rebounds on 49.4 percent shooting and 40.4 percent from the 3-point arc, prompting Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett to gush about the hybrid forward. (Make sure you read the article from WEEI, too.)
“Jeff’s a lot more aggressive than I can remember,” Kevin Garnett said. “I can remember when he first got here, maybe he was just understanding his role or whatever, at times he was tentative. Now he has a different appreciation. He’s playing like it. He’s playing like he knows he’s going to be here. He knows his role and he’s aggressive. We’re going to need that from him. He has an old-school game like James Worthy and to see him back, see him refreshed, see him doing the things he loves to do. It’s good to see him back.”
“Jeff stood out [in the preseason] probably more than everybody,” Rivers said. “I thought he established himself with everybody, which I thought was very important for him. We can tell them how good he is. He had to show them and I thought he did that.”
A lot was said about Green needing a full training camp to adapt to his new environment in Boston, but I think just as importantly Rivers needed a full training camp (plus the 35 games he played in Boston in 2010-11) to maximize what Green does on a basketball court. Given that Green’s a mismatch in the waiting, Rivers needed to find out how to utilize Green’s diverse talents (none of which, at least until this preseason, particularly stood out more than any other).
I’m going to wait to withhold final judgement, but all the early returns (eight straight games of aggression) provide evidence that Green is developing into a weapon the like of which he’s never been.