Three years, three months, and 28 days.
Three years, three months, and 28 days ago, Jeff Green was acquired by the Boston Celtics. Three years, three months, and 28 days later, what has he got to show for it? A total of 189 games played, 101 games started, and 2,672 points scored. Really, for a guy who missed an entire season, that resume ain’t too shabby.
Now, despite the fact that two seasons remain on Green’s contract, and despite the fact that he just came off a season in which he averaged 16.9 points per game, his future in green and white is in doubt. The Cs have plenty of other things to worry about this offseason, plenty of more immediate and important things at that, but I’d like to present an argument as to why Jeff Green should be suiting up for Boston next season, and the one after that.
Sure, it may have cost fan-favorite Kendrick Perkins to acquire him, but by now, time coupled with Perk’s horrendous play for the Oklahoma City Thunder should have mended the wounds for most. It’s time to forget the past, at least, everything but the immediate past, and look towards the future.
Here are the facts: Green is a very capable scorer, and has demonstrated the ability to put his gift to work. Not on a regular basis, mind you, but the ability is there. His defense leaves something to be desired, and its tough to foresee Green improving in that regard, but that’s OK; he can–at the very-least–hold his own defensively. There is $18.4 million left on his deal, spread out over the course of two seasons (assuming he picks up his player option for 2015-16).
Now, if I were to play “word association” with most Celtics fans, I’m sure that “Jeff Green” would get a quick “inconsistency” response, and vice-versa.
It’s the truth: Green has been one of the most frustrating players to root for over the past two seasons. First, it was his refusal to score more than 19 points in a single game for the first two and-a-half months of the 2012-13 season, then it was his tendency to follow up his 20-plus point games with single-digit duds, then it was his unhealthy obsession with his jumper this past season, which led to the steady decline in both his field goal and 3-point percentage.
There’s a ton to complain about Green, don’t get me wrong. But unfortunately, consistency is something few and far between in this league, especially for role players, and Green has actually gotten considerably better from night-to-night since his Celtics debut three years ago. You gotta take the bad with the good, and the things Green does wrong often cloud the water and prevent us from looking at how productive he actually is.
I mean, the guy really is a nightmare for the opposition. It’s tough to game-plan for Jeff Green; the combination of speed, length, leaping ability and shooting comprise a deadly offensive arsenal. If Green is hitting his jumper, that means he is hitting the 3. If he’s hitting the 3, he’s converting tough shots at the rim. If he’s hitting 3sand converting tough shots at the rim, you’re in for a bad time. (see: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics, March 18, 2013.)
Now, the problem is, the planets don’t always align like that–actually, they almost never due, hence the reason he isn’t putting up 43 every night. Good defenders frustrate Green, and since he is sub-par at setting up looks for his teammates, a great wing defender who possesses the same length and strength as Green can effectively neutralize him.
But lock-down defenders aren’t commonplace in today’s NBA. Thus, when you role the die, five sides point to a solid night for Green, while only one suggests the opposite.
He’s not perfect, but who is? Uncle Jeff is making south of $10 million and posting an average of almost 17 points per game, so really, there should be no rush to get him out of Beantown, unless of course a deal with an irresistible yield presents itself, and Green is a necessary sacrifice.
Three years, three months, and 28 days ago Green was sent to Boston. Now, the Cs would be lucky to have him for three years, three months, and 28 days longer.