Ainge: 'Jeff Green has proven he deserves to be on the court most minutes'
Danny Ainge went on "The Big Show" this afternoon and talked about the suddenly struggling C's. Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com's 'Green Street' broke down the interview here (link), and in it Ainge spoke about the recent play of Jeff Green, and whether or not he should be playing more.
I think Jeff is starting to prove and has proven to Doc that he deserves to be on the court most minutes of the game,” said Ainge. “Doc needs something off the bench, and I think he’s trying to figure all that out.
“And he will. He’s played Jeff at the 2 and the 3 and the 4 this year, and so I think that last night might’ve been a good opportunity for Jeff to play more at the 2. They had two big guys in there. They were killing us on the glass in the second half. I think in one stretch it was 27-9, and that just shows you lack of effort.
These comments suggest to me that Ainge is attempting to tiptoe the line between giving Green due credit for his recent improved play, and saying anything that could be misconstrued as criticism of Doc. Saying that Green deserves to play "most minutes" is a very vague statement, and in fact - Green is playing most of the minutes. For the season Green is averaging 26.2 minutes per contest (about 54%), and since Rajon Rondo went down, he's averaging 31.2 minutes a night (about 65%). Seeing as Ainge went on to talk about Green's ability to play three positions, it seems as though the Celts boss would like to see even more of #8 on the court.
Among other highlights from the interview:
- Ainge spoke about the Celtics end of game offense. You know, the "clogged toilet" offense where Paul Pierce dribbles the clock out and then takes a fadeaway from the elbow. Turns out Ainge isn't a huge fan of the predictability either.
At the end of a game, if it’s Jason Terry or Jordan Crawford or Jeff Green or Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett or Avery Bradley, it doesn’t matter,” said Ainge. “Any one of those guys are capable of taking the last shot, and that’s the kind of team we’ve gotta be — as opposed to, ‘It’s gotta be Paul making a play for us down the stretch.’ That’s just not the kind of team that’s gonna be successful for us.
Well said Danny. It seems fitting that the one recent example of successful 'last second' execution by the Celtics was Green's game winning lay-up against Indiana.
That play saw Pierce set a great screen, Garnett make a great pass, and Green make an athletic grab of the pass before finishing with the lay-in. Three players efforts coming together instead of just "give the ball to Paul and get the hell out of the way".
- For those that hate Lebron, you may want to skip this paragraph, as Ainge has extremely high praise for the Heat star.
This guy is a cross between Michael [Jordan] and Magic [Johnson],” said Ainge. “He’s a beautiful passer, a great ball-handler, a great defender, a great rebounder and he’s becoming a great finisher, a great shooter and scorer. That was the only thing he’s really been lacking from the time he came into the league, and we can see him just getting better and better with that. It’s scary for the rest of the league.
Sometimes it makes me sad that Lebron is only 28 years old. Guy has 5-7 years of dominance left, and that's just not a very fun thing to think about.