Boston Celtics hybrid forward Jeff Green has heard nothing short of an earful this year. Whether it’s his consistency issues or not playing to the level of his contract, the critics have certainly had quite a year with Green…and the talk is now suddenly changing. Green has improved his game vastly and now lengthened his stretch of consistent play to a level that provides the franchise with quite a bit of hope and even bigger expectations.
There was a lot criticism toward Green’s game (‘was’ being the operative word). The criticism usually revolved around him being good at many things but not great at any one thing while on the court. In his last 10 games, Green is averaging 16.3 points per game, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks. The growth in his numbers do not begin to accurately describe the impact he continues to have on this team. The Celtics are really counting on Green to continue his steady climb not only for the present, but for the future as well.
Green gives the Celtics a match-up to take advantage of every night. No matter where it is Doc Rivers will find it and go at it… hard. Rivers is constantly looking for Green’s best match-up and it’s starting to become easier to find. There aren’t a lot of defenders in the league that can guard Green on a nightly basis and that is obviously one of the huge factors that makes him a centerpiece of this offense. For a depleted team like the Celtics, Green provides the luxury of having a guy who can not only play great individual defense, but now he’s showing that he can provide the best spacing on the floor as he is continually getting better at scoring from all areas. For a Celtics team that doesn’t want to have to rely on Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s veteran heroics for 35 or more minutes a night, a consistent Jeff Green becomes of vital importance.
At this point the Celtics are most likely aware that they aren’t necessarily a favorite to bring an 18th championship to Boston this year, but they are looking forward to possibly spoiling the chances of any other hopefuls looking to bring a title to the Eastern Conference.
Green joins an excellent core of youth moving forward for the Celtics which includes Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, and Courtney Lee. That’s a big chunk of talent with a small amount of miles on those collective legs. How good Green can be is still a question, but the better he gets the tougher the question is to answer. Last night Green fell to the floor hard and laid on the court for a few short moments, the silence of the crowd in Boston represented the fear of losing another crucial piece of this team. His late game heroics showed the fans of Boston that he’s certainly gotten up from bigger falls in his life, and he continues to do so as the gradual climb continues. In case you haven’t been watching the games, it’s starting to look easier for Green; a lot easier.
Eric St. Cyr Covers the Boston Celtics for Rantsports.com Follow Him on Twitter @EricJsaint