I've been waiting for the opportunity to begin referring to Jeff Green as "The Green Monster" on a regular basis. I have always been tantalized with Green's talent and this play from the preseason game against The Nets in Brooklyn a couple nights ago illustrates why.
I was also at this game in Phoenix against The Suns last season. Green totaled 31 points on 11-14 shooting including 3-5 from three. He also had 7 rebounds and 4 assists. What was also notable is that Kevin Garnett sat out this game and "The Captain" Paul Pierce played just 25 minutes.
Now, I know this was against the woeful Suns but I was hoping this game would somewhat signify the changing of the guard. As much as I love KG and Paul P, I was in the camp that last year should be their last season with Boston and feel The Celtics made a good organizational decision.
The only problem is that Green can be erratic to say the least. He had an excellent second half of the season last year but this preseason has looked like anything but a superstar. His offensive production has picked up the last couple of nights but his rebounding has been nothing less than putrid.
The question then arises, a subject that was broached in last night's Celtic'sLife Live podcast, is whether he is a building block of the future or someone to trade to benefit the future.
The good news in that no one should pay any attention to Green's performance this preseason. Although Green's rebounding is confounding, Brad Stevens has experimented with countless different lineups thus far. There's a big difference between knowing who you are going to play with on a day to day basis then with someone who just joined the team this season, let alone a rookie.
Green is also not playing with who is probably the greatest facilitator in the game right now, Rajon Rondo.
All of these factors are what do not have me worried about Green. When the season comes around he will be the number one option and will have plenty of time to get comfortable with Rondo in what is a rebuilding year.
The two things that worry me about Jeff Green moving forward are as follows.
To me, the future of The Celtics is Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk respecitvely. Other than Rondo, Avery Bradley is the elder statesmen of this group who turns just 23 in just over a month.
Jeff Green just turned 27 which is far from old. However, if a player is going to become a superstar this characteristic almost always emerges by this age.
In fairness to Green, he did play in the shadow of Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City and did lose an entire season because of heart surgery.
The question then arises: Can Green become a team leader in the next three years and can the Celtics become title contenders with him as the number one scoring option?
Or, should they trade away Green and go after a younger option in the next two upcoming drafts?
The only problem with that is as great as next year's draft is supposed to be there really are only two game changers: Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle.
Randle could be an excellent option because he looks as though he's going to be a beast and would fit in with what is looking like Brad Stevens' small ball system.
That would mean a team that grows together with either Randle or Wiggins along with Rondo as superstars supported with some great core players.
Unfortunately, the draft is an imperfect science and although The Celts have quite a few assets, trading up for Randle, let alone Wiggins, is not guaranteed.
The Gerald Green Effect
Speaking of the draft, there is also The Gerald Green Effect to worry about with regards to Jeff Green.
I like to think I have an excellent basketball eye and was giddy when The Celtics drafted Gerald as the eighteenth pick in the 2005 draft. I really thought The Celtics had gotten the next T-Mac and absolute steal of the draft.
We all know how that worked out. Green's tenure in Boston was brief and he has become little less then a journeyman with great leaping ability.
Although, Jeff Green's career has been wildly more successful than Gerald Green's, I still worry Jeff is like Gerald is that he shows us flashes of brilliance but then never quite lives up to the potential.
However, the concern remains that because of the flashes of brilliance The Celtic organization continues to stick with him and, as a result, he strangleholds the organization's overall development.
That is why I was a proponent of possibly trying to acquire Paul George when he became a free agent. George has demonstrated superstar tendencies and is only 23 years old but that's a moot point now.
The other thing I should address is I know many Celtic fans are wondering what I am talking about with Green's age? After all Rajon Rondo is 27 as well. We've seen with point guards, especially cerebral point guards, such as Rajon Rondo, is that if they take care of themselves can have very long careers.
Small forwards are much more reliant on their athleticism, which, like everything else, diminishes with age.
Rondo would also be the perfect elder statesmen to lead a younger group of Celtics.
The good news is The Celtics have an entire season of rebuilding to address Green's future with the organization.
The truth is, I'm a big fan of Jeff Green and truly hope this season he becomes the superstar I believe he is capable of being.
It will also help my blog posts because I can begin referring to him as "The Green Monster" and hopefully The Celtics once again become title contenders.
If not, I'll be green with envy watching other teams make deep playoff runs as The Celtics continue to structurally rebuild.
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Clint Corey 10/17/2013 12:52:00 AM Tweet Edit