“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.