It’s hard not to look at snapshots of Jeff Green‘s career and not come away impressed. The talent and physical tools are there: he’s 6’9″, long armed, and smoothly athletic.
Early in his career, the optimism seemed justified–alongside precocious youngsters Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Green dropped 20 or more points in 24 games in his second season. After missing the entire 2012 season for the Celtics and working tirelessly to return from open heart surgery, Green has posted some gems on his resume: hanging 43 on LeBron James & Co., giving Paul George all he could handle while dropping 27 against the stifling Pacers’ defense, his 39-point, nine-board eruption versus the Wizards earlier this year, another 39-point explosion, displaying a dizzying offensive barrage against the Pelicans, A 31-point, seven-rebound, four-assist, five-block, two-steal masterpiece against defensive stalwart P.J. Tucker and the upstart Suns.Yes, the talent of Jeff Green is as tantalizing as ever. But … he’s 27, entering his sixth NBA season, and consistency is nowhere to be found. Sure, he had 21 20-plus-point games in 2014, but he also was held to single digits in 14 of the 82 games he played last season.
The 41.2 percent he hit from the field was by far the lowest of his career. By all accounts, Green is pleasant and likable, but Danny Ainge isn’t paying Green $18.4 million over the next two years to be Mr Rogers.
With the franchise facelift in full swing, it’s obvious that it’s time to look elsewhere. When Boston shipped defensive specialist Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City for Green, they thought they had a long-term answer at small forward: instead, Boston has had a better net offensive rating when he’s on the bench for the last two years.
So where’s a better fit for such a confounding player? What team has the talent to take the pressure off of Green, but has a need that he fills?
Let’s look at five teams that could use the maddening, versatile game of the former Georgetown Hoya: