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Ainge: “We Haven’t Really Figured Out Jeff Green”

 

“We haven’t really figured out Jeff and when to use Jeff or felt an urgency to go to Jeff,” said Ainge. “I think that Jeff has had some favorable matchups through the course of the game, but at the same time our main offensive sets that go through [Rajon] Rondo and Paul [Pierce] and [Kevin Garnett] are working. There’s not really a need to change what we’re doing to go there. – Danny Ainge on WEEI 93.7 FM

It seems like an obvious statement, but it doesn’t mean it’s still a bit disturbing when it comes from the management level. Ainge has always been candid when evaluating many of his own players, as has Doc Rivers, but the unfortunate reality of the many issues that have plagued the Celtics early this season is that Green’s lack of consistency is the most alarming.

Given his situation last season, you want to give him the benefit of the doubt early on and I’m desperately trying to do that and remain fair in an assessment of him. However, the red flags that were apparent in the first three months of play with the franchise back in 2011 remain firmly in place through the first week of the season. Danny sees them too.

“I think Jeff has been inconsistent in his production and just trying to find his way. I think him more than any other player, is just trying to find where he contributes. What we need from Jeff, is we need him to play that great defense, rebound every night. There’s going to be nights where he can get that 20 points off the bench, and some nights where his number isn’t called that much,” he added. “He’s been fairly productive when we’ve called his number, but he hasn’t been a productive playing off the ball and playing off of our stars.”

Asked if Green has been too passive, Ainge described the subject as “a hard call. He has to find a way, we have to find a way, to allow him to contribute more. … In time he will figure it out and we’ll all figure it out.” (Via WEEI 93.7 FM)

Jeff Green may well figure it out over time, but there’s a distinct possibility he will not and that’s the exact reason why so many in Boston were perplexed by the willingness to hand over Green a four-year deal in the offseason. Without even letting Jeff’s heart condition be a factor at all in that evaluation of the hybrid forward, Ainge has invested heavily in a player that has not proven he can “fit” here in a system that leans heavily on defense, rebounding and “knowing your role.”

It’s still early so we will watch and wait….but when no significant progress come against the likes of the Wizards over two straight games, it’s fair to think this is an investment that could leave us wondering for the next few months and beyond.

  • Robert

    Uh, that not too encouraging…

    Before the season started, I put our roster into distinct tiers of player skill.

    Tier 1 is Rondo, KG, and Pierce – the C's 3 best players, and really not much to discuss there
    Tier 2 is Bradley, Lee, and Terry – our best role players: our best perimeter defender and our best outside shooters
    Tier 3 is Bass, Sully, and where Green SHOULD be – Useful guys who are somewhere between fifth starter and top bench guy.

    Right now, I'd say Green is in Tier 4 or 5 right now: end of the bench fodder and that's a problem when Jeff Green represents one of the only players we have that could realistically make a significant improvement in play.

    • CG12

      Sweet jesus, I sure hope the optimistic view of Green is that he is a Tier 2+ guy, at worst. $9M / year!

  • CelticsBIG3

    I kinda have to disagree that what they are doing is working. We're barely getting by the Wiz….

  • Phil

    You guys are definitely baiting me now. I'm not falling for it. No comment…

    Okay, one little comment. This is from the ESPNBoston piece on him: "Dig deeper and you'll find the Celtics are plus-11 in the 110 minutes that Green has been on the bench, but minus-26 over the 87 minutes that he's been on the floor."

    I said coming into the year that I'd ignore the ridiculous contract if he could be a positive on the team this year. We're more concerned about a title this year than the team in 2016 after all, and its not like his money could've gone elsewhere this year. Not a good start on that front though.

  • joao ribeiro arminio

    It is too early to demand from a guy who’s been through heart surgery, but most important has been still for more than six months without practicing or doing any kind of physical effort.
    It’s very hard for an athlete to come back in shape or get rhythm after some ordinary but serious hurt. Imagine when your physical capability has been reduced down to the half after the docs interfered in your heart system!
    And it is not a problem related to the body feature only but it also affects the psychological system of a human being.
    So, the gap between Green total recovery and his play shape seems to be larger than the majority expects.

  • ripsonics

    "Ainge has invested heavily in a player that has not proven he can “fit” here in a system that leans heavily on defense, rebounding and “knowing your role.”

    Name one season where we relied heavily on rebounding.

    JG should honestly be a higher option than KG because if we expect KG to give us 18-8 every night we will be disappointed 9 times out of 10. Honestly, KG is too old to be a third option. Great player still, but why not move JG to the third option and shift KG's role to defense only with a couple pick and pops here and there? I dont know why we are trying to do things that worked for us in 2008 this year. KG and Paul are still great, but as our first and second options? Not really going to work…. and given that we have only beaten the wizards so far this year (and barely during the second one) I'd say we need to reevaluate our offensive schemes.

    GO C's

    • CG12

      I'm not sure about the KG sort-of-demotion, but I wholeheartedly agree that Green needs to be empowered to carry more of the offense. Trying to "fit in" and "know his role" has been a large part of the problem. The second team is playing tight and it shows in their relatively unenergetic performances. Was I saw how the roster was coming together, I envisioned a second group of five guys who would come in, go balls to the wall, and really get the other team reeling. What I have instead seen is paralysis by analysis. Everyone is trying to "run their stuff" and get down the defensive schemes and they look like they are over-thinking instead of just playing. Free Jeff Green.

    • Phil

      More Jeff Green is not the answer, let alone at the expense of KG. Green played 37 minutes a game at OKC, and he put up a constant 15 points per game on 44% shooting with bad rebounding and defense numbers. What the Celtics need Green to do is be an efficient bench scorer. He's done a slightly better job than he did at OKC (~50% shooting,) but his rebounding and defense is so bad that it doesn't matter, the Cs can't keep a positive point differential with him. He just doesn't have the elite scoring skills (3 pt shooting, drive and kick game, finishing,) to be a top option. No amount of crowing about his imaginary potential will change that.

      KG should be a top option for as long as he can play. There's a reason that the team falls apart when he goes to the bench, and its because they depend on him on defense 'and' offense. The Cs obviously need to keep his minutes down, and that opens playing time, but as long as KG is on the court, he should get two looks before Green gets one.

      Also, where are you playing Green with KG anyway? There's ~15 minutes a game where Pierce sits that Green could play the 3, but I'm not sure how often KG plays without Pierce. Green has thoroughly hammered home the fact that he can't play the 4 against standard lines in this league, he'll get destroyed on defense far beyond anyone can make up with offense. Green needs to back up Pierce and add a few minutes of 4 time when the other team is small. He needs to be efficient in that time, or he needs to get used to getting booed at home real quick.

      • Eric Gerace

        Jeff Green in the preseason was a lethal scoring threat. He had a quick first step and got to the hole time and time again, and, to me, proved worthy of 20-25 minutes of play time during the regular season. He played every bit as well as Terry.

        In my opinion, there is a conflict over who is their true 6th man coming off the bench. Terry, or Green? If you look, often times through the first half so far this season, their minutes have been almost identical, and this creates a debate. Unfortunately, Green, starting from the first game, has been pressing, forcing shots. He didn't do that in the preseason. Now his confidence is down. But the issue isn't easy to solve, because if you don't reduce his minutes, then he has to start showing more offensively; if you reduce his minutes, then the team is sending the message that he is not an integral part of the bench depth. But $9m is no joke, so the juice needs to be squeezed out of the lemon sooner than later.

    • celticsfan

      ripsonics you are absolutely out of your mind. you and JG are useless!!

  • someguyinsac

    I know this is off topic, but Mike Brown apparently got thrown under the Buss and is out as the Lakers coach. =)

    • CG12

      "under the Buss" – nice one.

  • Lynn

    I gotta disagree with Ainge because if doing it the same way has been working why are we struggling on offense. Jeff isn't in the whole game. I think they have to open it up and go to more diverse offense instead of rondo, pierce, garnett in a pick and roll. They don't really have anyone else coming off screens that's a threat to shoot besides pierce. I think it will help if they open it up so they can have more options because the way it's going now they are struggling as is. Beating a Wizards team barely without their two superstars is not promising.

  • Lynn

    I totally agree with you ripsonics

  • Jove

    Rivers is the most overrated coach and that is why he can't figure out Green

  • elroz

    Ainge – if you haven't figured out Jeff Green – WHY DID YOU SPEND $9 A YEAR ON HIM? You could have had a Pietrus and another role player to go.

    However, since Pierce SUCKS right now – why not start Green and give him the minutes to either make it, or once and for all prove that he sucks. No reason to have Pierce start right now. Use Green and clear the air in the next 5 games or so.

    Terry is passing up shots?

  • celticsfan

    jeff green is a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT. can we rescind his contract? we can blame this all on ainge.

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