By Jon Shames on March 27, 2014
In his first year as a full-time starter for the Boston Celtics, Jeff Green's performance on the court has fluctuated much more than anticipated. The forward had struggled with his consistency last season, but it was assumed that in a more concrete role, he would find his niche and find some regularity in his play. He's had a solid year, but didn't play up to par with the high expectations set for him. Here is Green's report card for 2013-14.
Its tough to argue that Green's biggest strength is anything but scoring. If nothing else, he can put up some hefty point totals on any given night. This season, we've seen Green explode for 25-plus points on 12 separate occasions. But, unfortunately, his big scoring numbers don't tell the full story; Green is only shooting a career-low 41.2 percent from the field. He's been scoring, but not while retaining his efficiency.
Uncle Jeff wasn't ever a great rebounder, but in his days with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he averaged over 5.5 rebounds per game in three of his first four seasons. Since he was traded to Boston, he hasn't averaged more than five a game in any of his three years with the team. In 2013-14, Green is posting an average of 4.8 boards per game. For someone who is a long 6-foot-9 and a freak athlete, that number should be higher.
Offensively, Green is a bit one-dimensional. When he gets the ball, he is usually looking to score himself. When he does make a good pass, it's rarely flashy. Green is averaging 1.6 assists this year, which is consistent with his career average.
At this time last year, Green was the Celtics' best option to slow down some of the NBA's deadliest scorers. Between his 6-foot-9 frame and 7-foot-1 wingspan, he was and still is the most athletically qualified defender on the roster. Sadly, his defensive instincts seem to have deteriorated this season. He's constantly beat off the dribble and burned on backdoor cuts. Green needs to rediscover his defensive motivation, and soon.
It's tough to be too hard on Green; he has had his shortcomings, but to his credit, he has adjusted his play recently so that he and Rajon Rondo are able to coexist. He may not be Boston's ideal option as a starting forward, but he has gone from being one of the worst contracts in the NBA to a bona fide offensive threat who may play a big role for the Cs in the future.
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