Harden vs Green: What Could've Been

Yep I'm ready to admit it again: I was wrong.  Wasn't the first time and won't be the last.  Remember I thought Junior Burrough would be the next Charles Barkley.  I thought Paul Pierce wouldn't be much better than Scotty Thurman.  And I also was convinced Jeff Green was better than James Harden.  Frankly I couldn't have been more wrong.

I was down on Harden after his rookie year but that really wasn't fair.  Some guys don't get it their first year and then take off.  Bean was one.  McGrady was another.  I just thought that Harden had been overrated coming out of college.  But now I see it.  The ferociousness on the break.  The impeccable footwork, maneuvering and twisting his way for a basket or a trip to the line.  His uncanny ability to draw fouls (reminds me of Adrian Dantley a lot in that regard).  And to see OKC actually unsure of themselves sometimes this year in the fourth quarter, which was the same time last year Harden would set up his teammates and they'd get the job done.

On the other hand there is Jeff Green.  Very athletic but poor basketball fundamentals.  Does nothing exceptional.  Very uncertain of himself.  Doesn't have a good post game or an explosive perimeter game.  Can't rebound at all and is late on defensive rotations frequently.  This was the guy acquired in 2011 when the Celtics had the second best record in the NBA behind San Antonio?  Green was being compared to James Worthy this pre-season.  He's been compared to Len Bias too. That was pretty blasphemous.  Did they even watch Len Bias play?

Frankly I feel bad.  I feel bad that OKC lost Harden because they were on the verge of something very special, making sure we'd never have to hear about the Enemy as being the favorite in the West again anytime soon.  I also feel bad for Jeff Green.  Some guys just play better as starters and I for one really think he needs a shot at starting to get him out of this slump.  He's a really nice guy and it's really admirable coming back from that heart surgery. 

But what could've been?  Word has it that Danny Ainge originally wanted Harden, not Green, in the the Perkins trade.  Then he settled for Green.  That's just as bad as Phoenix wanting Kedrick Brown and the Buffoon insisting they take Joe Johnson back in 2002.

Ah what could've been?!  Back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Red's lucky enough to keep Joe Johnson and move Brown.  He's lucky enough to pluck Harden instead of Green.  But it seems ever since 1986 and Bias there's been a lot of "what ifs" and not many sure things.  If only KG isn't injured in 2009.  If only Perk isn't injured in 2010.  If only Shaq isn't injured in 2011.  If only Harden is acquired in place of Green.

And Harden on this year's Celtics?  Lights out, man.  He plays the 2 guard (which is the spot left vacated by Ray Allen).  He is a big-time scorer (something the Celtics have sorely needed since 2010 ended).  Harden putting up 25+ per night, with Rondo in the backcourt and Pierce and KG as the # 3 and 4 options, in my opinion, would be enough to get it done and win a title.  How great would it be when the Celtics need a bucket, to have a guy to go to?  Sort of like they had Pierce back in 2008 but who isn't capable of it on a consistent basis anymore.

When the Celtics' traded Perkins, they ruined their chemistry.  For all the folks saying "Jeff Green was the best player" in the Perkins deal I ask you this: wouldn't you rather have Harden than Green?