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When Is Jeff Green?

 

Syntactical silliness aside, I think the headline identifies the most telling question about new Celtics forward Jeff Green. But before we get to answering it, let’s look at a couple of the more obvious ones.

WHO IS JEFF GREEN?

It depends on who you talk to.

Sam Presti and Scott Brooks have both praised Green for his high character, basketball IQ and team focus. He has young legs and good athleticism. But even with that context, the numbers suggest he’s a bench player, miscast in Oklahoma City as a starter. Nothing more.

Some key numbers for his four NBA seasons, courtesy hoopdata:

That’s a whole lot of mediocrity right there. There’s almost no doubt the Celtics traded a finals-tested starter for a bench player, one without any realistic promise of getting within sight of even moderate stardom, much less reaching out and grabbing it.

I checked in with Royce Young of the True Hoop Network’s Daily Thunder to vet that conclusion. Royce had these thoughts on Green:

Let me be forthright: Jeff Green will frustrate you. He will annoy you. He will make you say, “What is this guy doing?!?”

But he’s also a very good basketball player that does very good basketballing things. He makes big plays. He’s a good passer and ball-handler. And at times, a very good outside shooter.

But where he lacks is staying consistent. He tends to float, sometimes completely forgets he’s 6-9 and can rebound and often settles for outside jumpers far too much. He’s not a great defender and really doesn’t fit well into a position. However for what he’ll be called to do in Boston, he might be a perfect fit. He can settle into a scoring role off the bench and not have to worry about battling premier power forwards every night.

Plus, he’s just 24 and still hasn’t entirely hit his ceiling. The Celtics will have to figure out what they can pay him (or if they even want to) this offseason as he’s a restricted free agent. But he’s valuable because of his versatility, character and athleticism.

But you’ve been warned. He’ll make you throw something at some point. But you won’t be able to stop yourself from liking him anyway.

With that middling review, we move onto our next question...

***

WHY IS JEFF GREEN?

(in Boston)

The answer, I suspect, is multifold:

1) The Celtics performed at a championship level on defense even with Shaquille O’Neal replacing Kendrick Perkins in the lineup. As well, in Perk’s absence, the Celtics gained obvious benefits on offense. But here’s the killer: according to 82games.com the Celtics played better with a Shaq-KG-Pierce-Allen-Rondo lineup than any single starting lineup that included Perkins over the last four years.

2) Green’s defensive and offensive versatility (which don’t necessarily equate to proficiency, as the numbers show) will maximize the efficiency of the other Celtics, the same way Rajon Rondo maximizes the offensive capabilities of the aging big three. Doc Rivers is practically drooling at all the big and small lineups he can trot out given Green’s ability to play the three, do spot duty at the four and guard everything from 1-3 on the perimeter (that’s especially useful against teams with off-the-dribble threats like the Knicks, the Bulls, the Spurs, and the Heat). Green may not dominate any of his one-on-one matchups, but my guess is that the Celtics are betting he’s going to enable those around him to do just that.

3) Even before the Marquis Daniels injury, the Celtics had a pressing need for a backup small forward to share defensive duties with Paul Pierce in the playoffs. Because, as we saw against Cleveland last spring, Pierce can’t produce on offense when he’s forced to defend elite scorers for heavy minutes. To preserve Pierce’s offensive output, the Celtics needed someone to not only replace the departed Tony Allen, but ideally, to improve upon him. Green is 6’9″ and quick enough to keep up with elite small forwards. And he’s better than Tony Allen on offense. That’s an upgrade across the board. Pierce should reap the benefits.

Which leads us back to the beginning…

***

WHEN IS JEFF GREEN?

I think the answer is: now.

And not later.

Because I don’t think Jeff Green figures in the Celtics’ future plans anymore than Kendrick Perkins does.

Ultimately, Perkins was shipped out in large part because his reputation exceeded his ability, and he was about to be paid on the basis of the former.

Green’s career looks to be headed in the same direction. His upside seems to be as a great role player, if everything breaks right for him. But you don’t win titles building around role players.

So, maybe Danny Ainge will re-sign Green after the season, and maybe he won’t. But if he does, I doubt Green will end up as anything more than a trading chip used to acquire a superstar in a 2012 rebuild, the same way Ryan Gomes and Gerald Green got flipped for Kevin Garnett in 2007. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Green re-signed at favorable terms this summer (that wasn’t going to happen with Perk) and then flipped as part of a package soon after.

Fast forward to next year’s trading deadline:

Would Orlando take a first round pick, Green and Rondo for Dwight Howard if they knew the big fellow was going to leave in free agency?

Would New Orleans take a similar package for Chris Paul if he was on his way out the door?

I’m just speculating on the specifics but I think we’re rapidly approaching a time when every Celtics player is going to be in play on the trade market as Ainge tries to put a couple of top-10 players together to bridge his way to the next contending Celtics team.

If so, this could be a very brief dalliance between Mr. Green and the city of Boston.

Let’s hope it’s a fruitful one.

  • Scott

    I have been waitin for you guys to mention perks inefficiency on the court again. I remember reading an article way back when on CH about perks numbers, and actually how bad (according to the numbers) he was on the court and for this team. I think people are looking at this trade as bad because of what perk ‘meant’ to the team, and not actually what he ‘did’ on the court. Perk got worked by Howard when they played Orlando the last time in the first half. In part because Howard looks a lot better than he did last year, but also because perk just might not have what he needs this year to defend Howard. Keep in mind also (something also mentioned on CH) who we use in crunch time. It was NEVER Perk.. Ever. I think this trade will surprise some people especially because everyone is basing, as I said earlier, what they believe perk brought to the team. I love perk, his work ethic, and his FU attitude. But when you look at the possibilities with the guys we got, the guys we’ll have come the playoffs, and who we eventually sign, I like this team better. Besides.. Who’d we lose too when we didn’t have perk? Oh yeah.. Cleveland.

    Go C’s BABY!

  • Jake

    Couldn't disagree more with this article. Green is the classic guy-that-winning-teams-have who never gets enough credit. He helped build the great chemistry we see in OKC by doing the dirty work that allowed KD to flourish (KD is brilliant, but a sub-par defender). He fills holes and does what's expected – which can include leading a team at a big stage (See: 2007 Hoyas). He is the perfect compliment to a star-studded roster.
    Independent of Perk, the trade, the team – this article completely undervalues Jeff "Celtic" Green (you heard the nickname here first) as a player.

    • OKCeltics

      I agree with you Jake. I've seen every game Green has played since the Sonics moved to OKC. He's much more valuable than his numbers. With Durant and Westbrook being the lead dogs for the Thunder, Jeff did what was asked of him and did it without complaining. I'm excited for what he can do for the C's.

  • http://twitter.com/JdotD @JdotD

    I liked this article until you mentioned trading Rondo! I know its a hypothetical, but I'd take Rondo over anyone in this league and he's clearly the most important player on our team (KG is the most important defensively, but Rondo has the most all-around impact).
    I wouldn't trade him for Dwight, CP3, anyone.
    Dwight's an asshole too, so I would prefer if he wasn't in Celtic green ever either!

  • Alan

    i dunno who this writer thinks he is, but the notion of trading rondo for anyone… hogwash! rondo is the piece to build the next contender around, not pierce, kg or allen. they are phenomenal, don't get me wrong, but they are superstars past their primes. you don't build contenders around that. not without rondo anyway… just remember what chuck said: he's the engine that stirs the drink.

    howard isn't coming to boston. just forget it. he may not stay in ORL, but i doubt he would come to boston. cp3 is too risky with the knee situation, or lack thereof.

    in short, i agree that the trade was not for the better, but the idea of trading away our best player is ridiculous and an affront to everyone who reads this website.

  • green8teen

    ummmm trading rondo for howard?? are you nuts? they want howard WITH rondo for the future, unless they really don't think he'll be effective post-big 3 like he is now, or that he won't stay beyond his current contract. we need multiple stars to win a championship, ESPECIALLY now with all the super teams coming together. and in 2012 when rayray and garnett are gone and pierce is a couple years older, why would howard want to be here without rondo? unless we get super lucky in the draft with that clippers pick or something, or if we were somehow getting howard and paul, i think it's ludicrous to think they would trade rondo to get howard or paul versus trying to wait until free agency to just sign the player.

    • talesofJP

      D12 with RR makes a lot of sense if that can happen.

      • Chris O

        Those are the rumors, D12, Rondo and Green when the C's try to get D12 in 2012. Then Pierce will still be here. The rest of the roster will be gutted (so be it). Maybe resign Ray and KG to cheap $$$ (since they will both b 100 years old lol)

    • Abe

      This article lost all credibility when Rondo trade rumors were randomly brought in… cmon, use your head

      • Ryan DeGama

        You guys may be a bit hung up on a purely hypothetical concept here – trading Rondo/not trading Rondo… it's not really germaine to the argument….

  • GranTur

    Jeff Green has played out of position for his entire NBA career so far.

    End of discussion lol.

  • CsFanInArkansas

    Intriguing piece, Ryan. Well done.
    I do believe, however, that our coaching staff – along with our current core players – is vastly superior to the organization that Green and Kristic have been playing for. So, I'm hopeful that will translate into Green getting closer to meeting the potential that he's rumored to be oozing with.
    Doc and his staff are more than capable of bringing in a guy with high basketball IQ (a quality that everyone seems to agree Green posesses), enormous altheticism and a wide variety of NBA level skills and help him reach his potential.
    Doc believes that defense can be taught – look at Von Wafer as an example. So, Green's D will improve…same for Nenad.
    I'm not worried that the new guys will frustrate us as fans – I'm more anxious to see how quickly they are able to adapt and buy in to Celtic basketball.

    As for the 2012 off-season…why would we get rid of Rondo in order to get Howard? Isn't the goal to build a team around Rondo as the vets (KG, Ray and Truth) fade out?

    • CsFanInArkansas

      Sorry – I was a little late in pushing the "Submit Comment" button…I wrote my piece, walked out of the room for some water-cooler talk, and came back and submitted…my apologies for the Rondo redundancy…

      GO CELTS!

  • Jon

    Once Green gets acclimated to Boston's system I think he will show his value to everyone around the league. He doesn't need to be the man or have abundant amount of shots. His offense will come from runing the floor midrange and the low post (he can hit the three also). He was the best low post option for OKC which underused that aspect of his game. I am a newly converted Boston fan since Jeff Green's arrival. I know they played a lowly Clippers team but once the 2nd unit gets to the level defensively as the 1st unit this team will be scary good top to bottom. Can't wait until he debuts at home.

  • Tom W

    If there was any chance we could resign Garnett to a cheaper contract and pick up Dwight Howard, Howard would end up being one of the most destructive defensive presences in NBA history. The first time he blocked a shot into the second row, Garnett would rip his face off. Eventually he would learn to keep all of his blocks in bounds (kind of like another Celtic who recently got the medal of freedom).

    As crushed as I would be to see Rondo go, that scenario might be worth it.

  • Sweeney

    As fans we need to understand the trade as swapping contracts ending after this season. You cannot look at Jeff Green as a long term solution at this point in time. DA and DOC felt that adding him to fill the POSEY role and spell Pierce was a better option than keeping PERK. So he is going to be a bench guy with bench expectations. His PG in OKC was fantastic, but Rondo is a different beast. Green will benefit from running the wings for Rondo and receiving some easy looks at the hoop. One thing to remember that Green is intelligent and understand who he is playing alongside. He can learn and can be a great fit to a team that demands it. We know that if he doesn't then he won't get off the pine. Doc, if anything has always showed us that he would rather shorten the line-up than put someone in who doesn't get it.

    Plus, the trade is more than Green. I am really interested to see what KRSTIC stats look like after 6 games. That might just be a more valuable asset than Green when it is all said and done.

  • Dan

    Great piece. I think/hope Green has more potential than you describe (because he was so badly coached/used in OKC) and that he is a substantially worse and less versatile defender right now than you describe, but article remains great and changes my thinking about the perk trade alot.

  • ElRoz

    well they also got Kristic for Perkins -I'm not counting Nate, sorry.

    They clearly got an offensive improvement with Kristic and Green, plus a size improvement with Green over Daniels – who wasn't going to be able to play: one wonders why noboyd is asking if Boston could afford NOT to make a move? Green can play the 3 and the 4 when needed. Boston has gotten bigger and also offensively better. The only draw-back is risking it on Shaq and/or Jermaine coming back and staying somewhat healthy so that Kristic comes off the bench. But if that works out, then Boston has a bigger and better scoring bench right now. Boston is 34-11 w/o Perk this year…and many of these games Shaq missed as well!

  • rusty

    I think Doc Rivers is a horrible coach. He hasn't tapped the potential in any bench players in the past two years. He may be good at handling ego's but doesn't know anything about actually coaching. Thibodeau was and Lawrence Frank is better suited to coach the Celtic's. I'm sick of everyone giving credit to Doc for anything. One championship in 3 years fire his a… with all the talent he's had he's pathetic and Im sick of here the crap that comes out of his mouth

    • Sweeney

      HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE…Rusty, are you made because you haven't made a movies of any significance since National Lampoon's Vacation?

    • Scott

      are you stupid?

    • CsFanInArkansas

      I don't remember ever seeing you post here, Rusty…but, hopefully, we caught you at a bad time…

      • rusty

        scott are u stuipid how was doc's coaching before the big 3? We go through droughts of not scoring, bad shots, turnovers consistently, are u kidding me with your responses. A homeless man could coach the talent we have to a title. And on a side note I would trade Rondo for Chris Paul, Deron Williams, or Russell Westbrook in a second!

        • Scott

          Wow…. Did you look at the talent Doc had on his team before the big Three… Can you name me a couple of those players, and where they are now? Right..

          Secondly.. If you bring Deron, or Westbrook into this system it will not work. Those guys are score first point guards that would not understand that their role on this team would be to get everyone else going. Rondo is a perfect fit for this team because he is a pure PG. CP3, would be maybe the only other PG i would consider, and i dont think he is as good a passer as rondo.

          Secondly.. Managing Ego's is a HUGE part of coaching, e.g. Detroit. He may know how to coach the game, but how well is he doing with managing his players.

          The droughts in scoring come when players on the floor stop passing the ball. When we go ISO, we stop scoring, and DOC (that bad coach you're talking about) addresses that in huddles. Do you watch games on Mute? How are personal mistakes that the players make, the result of bad coaching. A poor pass is on the passer, not the coach.

          Why do you think Danny stuck with Doc for so long? Maybe because he is a two time coach of the year award winner? Maybe because he realized that with a good team, his GREAT coach could get the job done.

          LASTLY.. How many game winning plays has Doc drawn up? How many out of timeout plays has Doc drawn up that dont blow your mind.

          I really hope you are just having a bad day, because you are Wrong.

          • Chris O

            NIce job Scotty, you shut him up. Doc is a top 5 coach in the league and has been for a long time. Like you said he won two coach of the year awards and one was with a HORRIBLE Orlando team. Doc is a GREAT coach

  • C's fan in LA

    can someone please explain the rationale for trading Semi and Luke???
    I've read every article and comment and am starting to understand Danny's rationale… But I don't understand why the gave up Semi and Luke for NOTHING!!
    I think Semi had a lot of potential as soon as he could understand english (which a couple months in and he should essentially understand all the barks from KG on defensive rotations). And I never saw Luke's potenital (he seemed a bit to husky and not nimble enough), but other C's fans swear by him and his potential… a possible cult favorite….

    Dear Celticshub staff writers (or just other fans) please explain why we would give up those two especially as we needed bigs-atleast for the next couple weeks!

    • Alex

      feel exactly the same about the Semih trade (sorry, Luke didn't really play all that much, I would've given him away). But the Semih thing really pisses me off. Would he have given us a younger less developed version of Krstic?

    • Guest

      Definitely to make room for Troy Murphy and possibly another. That was definitely Danny's plan all along and why he was further justified in making the Perk/Green trade. I liked Semih alot, but I think he was too raw and too banged up to earn a playoff rotation spot anyway. He has the bad abductor muscle that will require surgery, the nagging groin strain, and the thumb injury. The trade and subsequent acquisitions forthcoming will not only bring the team more offensive potential and bench versatility, but it also adds fresh healthy bodies to the rotation (granted they'll have to get adjusted quickly to the C's system). Troy Murphy would be a great pickup and would replenish our frontcourt depth (additional rebounding can't hurt either) until the O'neal brothers are ready to go again.

      In terms of Luke, I am not sure that he has much of an upside and perhaps the coaching staff felt the same way. Obviously, they think Bradley has more potential and a brighter future in Boston. Aside from that we all know Doc doesn't like playing rookies over the vets on the team.

    • Chris O

      Like 'Guest' said, he was too banged up. And they needed something proven. Semih was really a liability on both ends of the floor as admirably as he played. Danny wanted to clear roster spaces to get spots for bigs such as Troy Murphy, and possibly a Dalembert or Camby if they were bought out (maybe even Rasheed back-yikes!!!). Semih and Luke were BODIES and PLAYED but that's about it. Plus Danny loves draft picks, he's like the Bill Belichick of B-Ball GM's (and remember the 2nd we got will be almost as good as our first).

  • Alex

    again same here. Rondo = untradeable. Not for Chris Paul's Brandon-Roy-knees and not for Dwight's-ugly-ass-smile.

    • guest

      Can't stop laughing at the ugly-ass-smile description

  • keltic

    danny isnt done yet…i believe it was to clear roster space so we shall see

  • Steve

    This qoute "But you’ve been warned. He’ll make you throw something at some point. But you won’t be able to stop yourself from liking him anyway." makes me think of none other than "Trick or Treat" Tony Allen. He would have a great defensive series then botch a fast break lay up the play after. Hope Jeff Green brings it though.

    • Chris O

      Haha, agreed Steve, I felt like it was Tony Allen

  • Mike

    In other news it seems Delonte has twisted is ankle in practice and is out for the next couple of games….jeezzzz now that he was playing well again

  • kricky

    Interesting that the Cleveland and Sac moves freed up three spaces on the roster. That means Ainge must have been planning on signing three FAs all along, no ? It'll be very interesting too see who we pick up.

  • I_Bleed_Green

    Anyone who won’t trade Rondo for Howard or CP3 needs to stop being a homer. Rondo is a good pg but not elite.

    • rusty

      Very well said.

    • Batman

      Really? I think he is. It seems most bloggers are of the mind that Rondo is an elite PG
      Zach Harper puts him at 3rd best in the league, tied with Rose
      Timothy Varner says hes the 2nd best PG, not far behind Paul
      But like everything, you can have your own opinion

      Secondly, if we traded for Howard wouldn't we turn into the current magic? always "Contenders" but never close to winning the championship

      • I_Bleed_Green

        Rondo is definitely not better than Dwill, CP3, Rose, Westbrook, Tony Parker, Nash. On a certain nights, I might even take Eric Gordon and Chauncey billups over rondo. Of cuz this is just my opinion but I’ve watched every single minute of celtics basketball for the last 3 years so I know what I’m talking about.

    • Chris O

      I wouldn't trade Rondo for CP3, a younger guard (slightly) on two legs is better than a guy that is still playing on a bum leg LONG TERM. Howard I am not sure is going to be an Alpha dog that can bring you a championship. He seems to wilt (no pun on Chamberlain) in the moment when Rondo kicks it into crazy triple double Ima own LeBron, Rose whoever gear in the playoffs.

  • Idaho

    You know I am kind of glad this trade has brought more ppl to celtic hub bc I have been on an island recognizing Rondo for what he is… Great passer, great defender, atrocious jump shooter, free throw shooter and in transition. Which does not equate to an elite pg. He is good and of tremendous value but please don't compare him to the truly elite PG's of the league. I am dissapointed he hasn't improved offensively like DHoward whom I'm criticized as over rated for the same general reasons.

  • I_Love_Green

    WOW TRADING RONDO FOR HOWARD ARE YOU MAD!?!?! WOW!!

    No, I'm kidding. It was a hypothetical situation people, chill out.

    • Ryan DeGama

      Bless you, sir.

      Bless you.

  • Razah

    SHIZZNIT what are you smoking Ryan…..Rondo for Dwight…..WTF….lol. Not to mention a 1st rounder AND Green……dude stay off the drugs man.

    • Chris O

      Yea that would be overpaying to say the least. But Dwight is a top 5 player.

    • I_Bleed_Green

      I’m glad you’re not Danny Ainge. DA would do it in a heart beat.

  • http://convoccoltdbirmingham1.wordpress.com/tag/convocco-ltd-birmingham/ convocco

    I also want to know this.Please let me know, when is jeff green.I adore you to admire the websites.thanks for sharing the information

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