COMMENTARY | Jeff Green has had his fair share of difficult situations during his time as a Boston Celtic. He was brought into town at the expense of Kendrick Perkins, a favorite of the fans, his teammates, and his coach. Trying to fill the void left by the starting center on a championship team midway through the season is a tough task, particularly on a veteran team chasing a ring.
The former fifth overall pick out of Georgetown was treating a serious heart condition last season, which limited him to being a spectator as his team fell to the eventual champion Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Danny Ainge gave Green a deal worth almost $36 million over 4 years after going an entire year without playing a game, turning up the pressure on him to become the player that many have expected.
After an ineffective start to the season, Boston fans were already getting sick of Green's performance. The combination of his physical abilities, how he came to town, and the terms of his contract quickly turned many against him. Jeff Green looked nothing like the combo-forward who could provide lineup flexibility and guard the likes of LeBron James on the perimeter in the playoffs that Boston hoped they were getting.
Like much of this Boston team, Green has noticeably stepped up his game following the injury to Rajon Rondo. In an impressive February, he has posted averages of 16.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks on an efficient 53% from the field. He is clearly playing with a fire under him, and has looked like a completely different player.
So, which Jeff Green is the real Jeff Green?
Celtics fans should expect the frustrating version, and anything more than that should be treated as a bonus.
At 6'9", Green has shown flashes of being able to play either forward position, run the floor, defend wings adequately, provide scoring as a slasher and spot-up shooter, and block shots. In his fifth year, he has yet to do this consistently and efficiently to the point where you can steadily rely on his contributions. He gives you enough of a flash to continue believe in him, which is why the Celtics re-signed him. They see his potential, and they put a large bet on him achieving it. Which, at different times this season, has looked like both a good and a bad idea.
Given the size of his contract, Boston fans have no choice but to root for him. The team has invested a lot, and nobody will trade for the Jeff Green that we saw at the beginning of the season. When Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett inevitably retire, Green will still be being paid like a building block. He has been nothing more than a complimentary piece so far in his time in Boston; is anyone around the league scared of Jeff Green as Rajon Rondo's right hand man?
The fact that he persevered through severe heart issues and is now competing in the NBA is nothing less than admirable. However, expecting anything more than inconsistency with occasional flashes of a high ceiling would not be smart. Celtics fans have found this out the hard way since he was brought into town for Kendrick Perkins.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering the Celtics for 3 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jeff Green
- Boston Celtic
- Kendrick Perkins
- Rajon Rondo