Jeff Green and Rudy Gay. Both are fantastic athletes, both are able to take over a game on any given night, and both are gifted scorers. Both have been bounced around the league and have been shopped in countless trade rumors over the past two seasons, and now it appears that one — Gay — is finding his stride while the other — Green — has lost his.
Gay, a member of the Sacramento Kings, is now on his third team in two years. Formerly a frustratingly inconsistent player, he has looked like a new man since arriving in Sacramento. In 28 appearances, he is averaging 20.0 points per game and shooting 51.0 percent from the field. He’s averaging 4.0 fewer field goal attempts than he was in Toronto, but is scoring 0.6 more points per game.
Gay’s efficiency revival is primarily due to shot selection. With the Toronto Raptors, he developed a “chucker” stigma, and his favorite shots seemed to all be contested and/or falling away. With the Kings, though, Gay has been much more aggressive attacking the basket. He has used his athleticism to get around defenders and slash to the rim, where he is shooting an exceptionally-efficient 69.9 percent. He is attempting a career-high 5.1 free throw attempts a night too.
Moving on to the next 6-foot-9 forward we will be discussing today, Jeffrey Lynn Green. Boy, oh boy… is there anyone more frustrating from game to game than this guy? Green was one of the most exciting prospects for Boston Celtics fans last year, but now has caused those same fans — myself included — to pull their hair out on a nightly basis.
Last season, after the All-Star break, Green averaged over 17 points per game and shot just under 50 percent from the field. He was attacking the rim relentlessly and spotting up in the corner. He was inept going left, but his right-handed drives were unstoppable. He put his athletic gifts to good use; at the power forward spot, he would use his agility and speed to burn his defenders, and he would back his guy down at small forward and use his height to get a good shot off.
This season, all that has gone out the door. Green’s field goal percentage has dropped almost 5 percent, and he’s been nothing short of dreadful from an efficiency standpoint over the last month. He shot a subpar 38.6 percent percent in January and is hitting 40.9 percent of his looks in five February games.
What even more concerning is that 2.2 of the 3.7 more field goals he is attempting this season are 3-point attempts. Green is a solid shooter from deep, but nowhere near good enough to have that be his primary weapon, especially if he is Boston’s go-to scorer.
Lately, Green has been attempting more and more Raptors era Rudy Gay-esque shots: pull-up jumpers, fadeaways and deep threes. And because of this, he has been shooting with Raptors era Rudy-Gay percentages. Green is a talented player when he is slashing, posting up, and shooting smart threes with confidence. Much like Gay, Green is a guy who needs to see the ball go in the hoop to get going.
Its because of this that Uncle Jeff should be approaching each game the way Gay does. Although he doesn’t possess the fluidity that Gay does, his fundamentals are only slightly inferior. Green’s first option should be slashing, and his second should be spotting up. If he starts to get int0 a rhythm, he will be able to knock down the tougher shots he seems to have fallen in love with as of late.
While Gay is a much more established scorer than Green is, its all mental for the latter. He has the tools to be a 20-point scorer — he just needs to play the game with the proper mindset, understanding his own strengths and weaknesses and developing his style based on them. Jeff Green is the only thing holding Jeff Green back.