Boston Celtics: The Jeff Green, Paul Pierce Dilemma
The pages of the Boston Celtics franchise are slowly turning and Jeff Green is showing his most consistent effort all year. He is becoming the go to guy and the torch is finally starting to be passed. Green continues to show that he is not a lost cause and that he is beginning to evolve and lead by example. It’s becoming more and more obvious that the drop off in Paul Pierce’s game and his heavy minute load are costing the Celtics wins and chances to further develop Green’s endless potential.
Over his last 10 games in just under 30 minutes played, Green is averaging nearly 15 points per game and four rebounds per game to go along with 1.5 blocks. He has quietly come alive in February and it’s to the point where the team has to debate who is the go to guy, Pierce or Green. While Pierce is still the Celtics biggest contributor, it’s starting to look like he just cant find those match-ups to take advantage of anymore, while Green pretty much owns at least two match-ups at all times when he’s on the floor. Green offers more versatility in the post and has taken great strides in stretching the floor and shooting from beyond the arc and from the 16-23 feet area at a decent clip.
The decline in Pierce’s game appears more evident than that of fellow veteran teammate Kevin Garnett’s simply because of the differences in growing older at their own respective positions. Pierce often has to defend younger and faster players as well as putting in almost too much work on offense because of the team’s struggles in that area. The Celtics are lacking a go to guy and it’s really starting to make their offense a lot easier to defend.
Green is the Celtics new and improved best weapon. At some point Doc Rivers is going to have to stifle his loyalty to the captain and cut off a good portion of Pierce’s minutes to allow Green to flourish. Although they have proven to be semi- successful when on the floor at the same time, it often results in Pierce dribbling out the shot clock and forcing up jumpers, which the Celtics certainly don’t need anymore of since they are already taking too many shots from 16-20 feet late in the shot clock because of the offense growing stagnant without a natural ball handler.
They need both of these guys to contribute and score at will night in and night out, especially with a such a depleted line up. However, the question that’s slowly arising is whether Pierce is still capable of doing it. His minute load is still too high and although Green still has areas he needs to improve in, it’s his time to take the lead and sooner or later the Celtics will have to come to terms with that.
It’s not easy to take the starting job of a franchise player who’s been doing it for 15 plus years, but it’s getting to the point where the question is going to be asked more and more. Pierce is still playing 35 minutes a game and there’s just no way that it’s a recipe for success in the long term. The Green and Pierce dilemma lives on, and both their services are needed in a big way, it’s just a matter of finding the balance between being good for today, or being better for tomorrow.
Eric St. Cyr is a NBA Contributor for Rantsports.com follow him on Twitter @ericJsaint