According to Brian Robb of ESPN's TrueHoop Network, there will be no tribute video for Jeff Green when the former Celtics forward makes his return with the Memphis Grizzles to TD Garden Wednesday night, and he's OK with that.
Recent visits from Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Doc Rivers have elicited not only a Jumbotron salute, but also lengthy standing ovations from fans and emotional responses from the returnees. But there is a difference between the aforementioned figures and Green - they all have rings from their time in Boston.
Jeff Green on a potential tribute video: "It would be nice but I don't expect it. The guys who got them won championships." #Celtics— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) March 10, 2015
Green's tenure in Boston was far from a failure. After coming over in the 2011 trade that shipped Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City, Green averaged 14.6 points over 222 games in green. The Heat knocked the Celtics out in the second round in 2011, then Green missed the entire 2011-12 season with a heart ailment. He returned in 2012-13, but Rondo tore his ACL that season and Boston was knocked out in the first round. Danny Ainge began his bold rebuild just months later, shipping out Garnett and Pierce and leaving Green as one of the team's elder statesmen.
Green started every game last season and was averaging a career-high 17.6 points per game this year when Ainge shipped him to Memphis for Tayshaun Prince and a first-round pick on Jan. 12 (Austin Rivers also came from New Orleans in the deal).
The 28-year-old Green harbors no ill will towards his former team, as he told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:
“It’s a business, it happens,” Green said of the Jan. 12 trade. “I had speculation. I just went upon each day like I’m still a Celtic, like I gotta play hard every game.”
Though he's shooting just 40 percent from the Grizzlies, Green has mostly been exactly what Memphis wanted when it acquired him. Green has started 22 of 26 games with his new team, averaging 12.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 29.8 minutes. He's given the Grizzlies more flexibility on the perimeter, as his size and athleticism make him a better defender than Courtney Lee and he's more of an offensive threat than Tony Allen, both former Celtics themselves.
Green's shot chart since joining Memphis:
Green never became the building block Boston envisioned when it broke up the title teams to acquire him. After the Garnett/Pierce trade, he was thrust into an alpha-dog role that he wasn't ready for. He's a better fit with how Memphis has chosen to use him, and he's embraced his role.
From Washburn's article:
Coming into this situation I didn’t think was a challenge because I didn’t have to change who I was. I didn’t have to change my style. My goal was to come in and play hard, just like I did when I was (in Boston). I haven’t changed one bit. My approach to the game is give it my all.”
Photo credit: Brandon Dill, Associated Press ImagesDan Hoppen 3/11/2015 09:27:00 AM Tweet Edit