Doc Rivers spoke in practice about Green’s starting gig once KG gets back, saying that he has wanted to start the Georgetown product for quite some time, but his play has only recently justified that decision (via ESPN Boston):
“I was hoping (to start Green consistently at some point),” Rivers said. “That was my intention. We weren’t going to give it to him, he had to be more consistent to do that. Starters have to be consistent. Bench players are the inconsistent guys that go up and down. Jeff has earned that. And I’m really happy because he makes everyone better.”
Jeff Green has been lighting it up recently, with his 34 points carrying the Celtics to a much needed victory on Wednesday night. He has been aggressive, shooting at a high clip, and finally silencing the “why are we paying him so much?! Why did we trade him for Perk?!” naysayers. I’m not going to pretend like I was not in both of those camps before the ides of March hit, because I very much so was– but even those most pessimistic about Jeff Green’s basketball prowess recognized his talent and potential from back in his OKC days.
Its nice that those skills are now being actualized into on-court dominance. Green seems to have gotten his swagger back, driving with confidence and finishing with finesse.
There is no doubt that he deserves to be a starter, but an important question is should he be. I am inclined to say no. As frustrating as Brandon Bass can be, he fits in with the starting unit– hitting the open jumpers and rebounding at a decent level. It also seems as though Jason Terry and Green are just starting to hit their groove together and Green has shined when he has been surrounded by less talent– providing him with the confidence to run the offense and attack the rim. That ability is a dime-a-dozen and could be enormously helpful once the Celtics get Garnett back from injury, letting Pierce be the facilitator with the starting unit with Green running the show with Terry and Crawford of the bench.
Green’s new confidence can only be a good thing. It is just important Doc and co figure out how to maintain that confidence as Boston gets closer to full strength.