COMMENTARY | There are many questions surrounding the Boston Celtics, and it is sure that their future is far from decided at this point. Doc Rivers may not be the head coach, and there is a chance that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will not be around. Additionally, star point guard Rajon Rondo is recovering from ACL surgery that caused him to miss the end of last season and the playoffs.
It appears that there are plenty of changes coming for a franchise that has gotten used to competing during the Kevin Garnett era. Danny Ainge will need to evaluate much of the roster in order to properly decide who the team should commit to for the coming season.
Looking forward, the team will need to find out what they have in Jeff Green. During this process, Ainge, and whoever is the coach of the team next year, should make sure that Green is a major part of their plans as a starter.
As a starter, Green's versatility and ability to play multiple positions would be a huge asset to the Celtics. On any given night, his presence will allow the team to mold their starting lineup to properly match up with their opponent. He can play either forward position, and gives the team an extremely capable defender who can guard a wide variety of players. Boston could choose to go small with Green playing power forward, or go big with him playing small forward. With this versatility also comes the ability to make the other team adjust and play outside of their comfort zone for long stretches. At power forward, Green can draw bigger, slower defenders away from the rim and take them off the dribble. As a small forward, he has the ability to use his size and length over smaller defenders.
During his time in Boston, some of Green's best play has come when he is playing off of his teammates. He sometimes struggles with the second unit, as he is looked at to carry a heavy offensive burden. As a starter, he will be able to do what he does best; take advantage of mismatches, get easy points in transition, and hit open shots. To fully maximize his skills, Green will need to get heavy minutes with Rajon Rondo as a member of the starting lineups. We've seen Rondo get his teammates quality looks countless times, and Green needs to take advantage of having Rondo as a teammate. If this doesn't happen, Boston will watch Green struggle to carry the offense with the second unit.
Perhaps Jeff Green's biggest asset as a starter for the Celtics is his ability to be aggressive and cause problems in transition. Despite excellent production, it has been evident that Rajon Rondo has been held back to an extent due to a lack of a running partner. Some of the leading scorers on many of these teams, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, have not been strong transition players toward the end of their careers. Jeff Green gives Rondo a potentially great transition running mate, as a long, athletic, and quick option who can handle the ball and finish at the rim. Along with a slashing Avery Bradley, inserting Jeff Green into the starting lineup would help unleash Rajon Rondo's full potential. Garnett and Pierce may not be with the team next season, giving the Celtics the opportunity to evolve into a dangerous transition team.
Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics made a significant investment in Jeff Green with the hope that he could become a major part of their future plans. While he has certainly shown flashes of enormous potential, Green has yet to become a consistently great player. To maximize his talents and bring along his development, the Boston Celtics should make sure that Jeff Green is in the starting lineup next season.
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.
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- Kevin Garnett
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