After signing a bloated four-year contract this offseason, we’ve been pretty tough on Jeff Green throughout the first half of this season here at the Hub. Perhaps, we’ve been a bit too tough on him at times, (hey, it’s not his fault Danny Ainge decided to overpay him), but it’s been with good long-term intentions that we’ve cared for one of the highest paid players on the team who seemingly has endless potential. The good news is Green has really started to come around to proving his worth during this past month, bringing consistent effort and production on both sides of the floor almost every night. Boston has desperately needed this kind of play for them to succeed and it’s finally starting to pay dividends.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com caught up with Green recently to highlight his improved play and discuss amongst other interesting topics his road back from heart surgery last year. However, one tidbit in the article that was surprising to me and others I’m sure, is the fact that Ainge had a rebounding incentive, (one of Green’s greatest flaws as a player) placed in Green’s contract this offseason:
The most glaring deficiency since Green came to Boston has been his rebounding. The Celtics were so bothered by his lack of production in that area that when they signed him to a 4-year, $36 million extension last summer, Ainge included a rebounding incentive clause in the deal.
More rebounds, more pay.
“That one area was our biggest concern,” Ainge said. “To me, it’s not a lack of effort. It’s about bad habits.
“I don’t think Jeff has ever focused on rebounding in his life, from what I can tell.”
While Green acknowledged he was aware of the rebounding incentive, he said he hasn’t given it much thought since the season began.
“Money comes, and money goes,” Green said. “I just want to win games. I could care less how much money is riding on a rebound. It’s contrary to who I am. You do that and you’re thinking about the wrong things. It’s just not my mindset.”
The emphasis on rebounding and aggressiveness — there’s that word again — has been hammered home by coach Doc Rivers and forward Kevin Garnett, who implores Green to look at the basket more.
Unfortunately, Jeff isn’t lying when he says he could care less about the money earned while rebounding. Green has improved his offensive production and defense lately, but he’s still rebounding as poorly as ever. His defensive rebounding rate of 12.3 percent is a career low for him and he hasn’t made any strides lately during the C’s hot streak, as that DRR has dropped to 10.3 % during the team’s past nine games. Perhaps Danny knew this and just wanted to save money in the deal by inserting the clause.
Since Boston has been winning, the lack of rebounding by Green hasn’t been much of an issue recently since he’s doing other things on the floor to make up for the deficiency. Make no mistake though, Doc Rivers needs more from Green in this department if the team is going to survive this regular season and attempt to make some noise in the postseason as well.
If the money doesn’t matter to Green, perhaps we can think of some other ideas here at the Hub to give him some incentives to hit the glass extra hard. Suggestions as always are welcome from our readers…and remember those ideas from CelticsHub have worked for other Celtics in the past.