By Clint Corey
Grantland's Zach Lowe has placed Celtic small forward Jeff Green on his "All-Intriguing" team for this upcoming season. The first reason Lowe cites for this is without Garnett and Pierce to space the floor it will be much more difficult for Green to get open for the corner three where he shot a scorching 46 percent last season:
"Green split his minutes between the forward positions last season, and he looked good on offense spotting up around pick-and-rolls or bulling his way to the rim on drives with the floor spread. He nailed 46 percent of his corner 3s, a killer mark, and he was able to spot up for a lot of those even as the small forward in traditional lineups, in part because of all the focus Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo drew. Teams even left him open in the strongside corner, usually a no-no, because they were so concerned about actions involving two of those three stars."
Lowe further speculates that Green will have to not only work harder but also differently for shots with the loss of future Hall of Famers Pierce and Garnett. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however. In many ways Garnett and Pierce stifled Green's offensive growth because obviously a player is going to defer to one of the greatest power forwards and 2 guards to ever play the game. One only has to look to the "Splash Brothers" in Golden State to see how becoming a team's first or second option can increase one's offensive arsenal.
Now, especially without Rondo at the beginning of the season, the onus will be more on Green to create his own shot off the dribble. This should improve his confidence and array of offensive moves dramatically. Also, after Rondo comes back the ball will be in either his or Green's hands crunch time as opposed to the trademark Pierce ISO which will force Green to become more of a leader.
Brad Stevens has stated that he wants to spread the floor on the perimeter with the 4 man more than The Celtics have been accustomed to in the past. This is something Stevens was masterful with in the pick and roll at Butler utilizing his undersized bigs for excellent looks from the perimeter. We have seen Green can get to the rim on isolations with some of the most awe inspiring finishes in the league. With defenses scrambling out of the pick and roll and Green receiving the ball on reverses and no big man at the basket SportsCenter highlight reel top ten here he comes. Boom-Shaka-Laka!
Lowe goes on to say that although Green is an excellent one-on-one defender he has some work to do in the area of team defense. Hopefully, this will happen inevitably because The Celts are often times going to be undersized defensively. As a result Green will have to double down and learn to close out on his defenders without them getting by him off the bounce. Stevens has even talked about playing Green at the two guard which means that in these situations he'll be on smaller, yet, quicker defenders which will force him to learn how to be craftier defensively if he doesn't want to be burned.
All things being equal, Lowe is right, Green and his development will be one of the more intriguing and exciting storylines not just for The Celtics but for the entire league this season.
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Clint Corey 10/04/2013 01:19:00 PM Tweet