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Celtic fans, what you see with Jeff Green is what you get

Apr 5, 2011, 3:02 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Houston Rockets Getty Images

When Danny Ainge pulled the trigger on the Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins trade that Ainge thought more highly of Green than myself and some others did.

Not that Green is a bad player, he’s just kind of average (not the elite player some think). He’s athletic but his shot selection has always been poor and his defense was never that good. He would play passive at times.

Well, after five weeks Celtics fans have become perplexed by Green. Doc Rivers and the folks at ESPN Boston sum it up pretty well:

“I think he’s too nice,” Rivers said. “He’s trying to please the other guys on the floor. I’ve always thought playing with us is difficult, when you’re new, because you’re playing with Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen] and Kevin [Garnett] and [Rajon] Rondo and you almost don’t think like you deserve to be an aggressive offensive player or you should be, and I think he does that way too much.”

Since joining the Celtics late in February, Green has averaged 9.8 points on 7.4 field goal attempts per game. The C’s are counting on Green to provide an offensive spark off the bench, and he’s done just that in certain games, like when he scored 13 of his 19 points in the second quarter in a win over the Indiana Pacers back on March 16.

But there have been other games where Green’s been less aggressive with his shot selection, and as a result, his contributions have been minimal. In his last two contests, he’s averaged just four points on five field goal attempts and two rebounds. Rivers suggested he’s still being too passive at times, but has begun to work his way out of that habit.

Everyone — this is Jeff Green. He was what we thought he was. It’s not like he was some guy coming from a bad team/system who now would see the light of day once in Boston.

Green’s shooting percentage, both inside and outside the arc, have gone up since going to Boston while using about the same percentage of the offense he did before. The shots he’s taking are changing — he is shooting about a quarter as many threes per game yet nearly as many midrange shots as he did in Oklahoma City (his threes per 36 minutes on the court dropped from 3.6 to 1.7, but his overall shot level remains close to the same). What’s more, Hoopdata.com shows he’s shooting much, much better in the midrange (from 20 percent to 46 percent on 10-15 footers).

Green’s offense isn’t bad, it’s just inconsistent. If Celtics fans thought they were getting something else in this deal they should have asked Thunder fans about his play. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder coaching staff hand periods of frustration with Green’s inconsistent offense.

Then there’s defense. Zach Lowe had the numbers at Sports Illustrated.

326 points allowed in 300 possessions, or 108.6 points allowed per 100 possessions. And here we see it happening again: Green’s team is playing far worse, defensively, with him on the floor. The sample size is small — only about 172 minutes — but the fact that we’re seeing this same trend repeat itself in Boston is not encouraging. The Celtics and Bulls have taken turns atop the league’s defensive rankings all season, with both surrendering about 100 points per 100 possessions. With Green on the floor, Boston has defended at about the level of the Rockets and Nets, who rank 20th and 21st in points allowed per possession this season.

Pretty much what happened at the Thunder.

You can rationalize it and say if you play him at different positions (more three than four) or put him in with different lineups you’ll get better results. Maybe. The Celtics are a team that figures things out, and Green provides nice depth off the bench on offense. Players do improve. Sometimes.

But basically, this is Jeff Green. What you are seeing is what you will get.

  1. 00maltliquor - Apr 5, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    100% on the money. Summed Jeff Green up perfectly. That was a horrible trade by the Celtics (thank God!) i think Perkins is slightly overrated but fit in with what the team needed perfectly. The Celtics got hoodwinked. Green is so…so..blah! He’s exactly where he needs to be in Boston. On the bench!

    • musilly - Apr 5, 2011 at 9:43 PM

      Green’s a decent 7th or 8th man on a good team. I think that he’s fine as a back-up three–that’s why they got him, right, to replace Daniels? It’s when you try to play him as a four that things get UGLY. Not many threes can play the four really well in a small line-up, to ask Green to do that is to ask too much.

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:10 PM

        agreed

  2. passerby23 - Apr 5, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    He’s still only played a handful of games with Boston. If he becomes a little more aggressive like Doc is talking about, he becomes a lot more valuable. He’s a great working part if he becomes just a LITTLE more aggressive and consistent which is all he needs to do. This article reeks of “I told you so” banter.

  3. andyhr17 - Apr 6, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    He seems like he can be a very good 6th/7th man for them in the short term. If he works on his game and does become more aggressive, he could be part of their future as a 3. Boston’s bench was falling apart when the trade was made and you NEED a solid bench in the playoffs to make a run.

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