Sunday, May 15, 2011

What's with the Jeff Green optimism?

Jeff Green, Celtics News, State of the Celtics

People seem to drinking the Jeff Green Kool-Aid once again.

Ever since Danny Ainge came out and said that Green would need to get more playing time if and when he returned to the Celtics next season, Green has been the talk of the town.  There hasn't been any indifference regarding Green from Celtics fans.  Either they love him and think he's the future of the club, or they hate him and think that the club wasted at least one more great season with Kendrick Perkins in the lineup for a guy who can't get his act together.  There's no in-between.

However, Green seems to be getting more and more supporters the further away we get from the freshly-completed season.  The fans who wanted his head on a platter by the end of the regular season are the same fans that are saying that he, along with Rajon Rondo, are going to be the players to take the torch from the Big Three in the coming years and lead this team to banner after banner.  Evans Clinchy of NESN.com wrote about how it might make sense to do this and made some excuses for Green and his mostly-ineffective play in Boston.

But it takes patience with Green. He's still young -- he turns 25 this summer -- and he's getting used to a new role in Boston. He was miscast for most of his career as a starting power forward. That's not him. He's a little scrawny to play in the post, and his strengths are mid-range scoring and wing defense. His profile screams "small forward."
The Celtics have a chance to reinvent Green and turn him into the player he should have been all along. He's got high lottery pick talent. The C's can ensure he makes the most of it.

Okay, enough with the "patience" card when it comes to Jeff Green.  It sounds too much like the "potential" card, which is the scariest, most hated word in regards to young guys in the NBA.  Kedrick Brown had tons of potential with the Celtics.  So did Jerome Moiso, Ron Mercer, Joseph Forte and Marcus Banks.  Other guys with tons of potential include Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Kwame Brown, Darko Milicic and Greg Oden.  Where is all of that potential now?  I have no idea except for the fact that is isn't contributing much to an NBA team.

Jeff Green isn't in the same boat as any of those guys.  In fact, he's a nice player that can contribute.  Still, he just completed his fourth season in the league.  At this point, we should know exactly who he is.  He's the same guy that he was in Oklahoma City.  He's a guy who can score, but doesn't look to get his own shot enough.  He's a guy who is average at best on the defensive end.  He can rebound, but doesn't like to get his nose too dirty.  He's a guy who shows about as much emotion as the couch that I am currently sitting on.  Jeff Green is all of these things.  He always has been.  He always will be.

The problem with people who think that Green can the leader and cornerstone of a team is that they still think he's someone that he obviously isn't.  Green isn't a guy who will score 25-30 points a night and want to take the big shot in the final minute of a close game.  He isn't the perimeter defensive stopper that Ainge wanted him to be.  He isn't the second coming of James Posey or Tony Allen.  He's the guy you saw in Oklahoma City who wasn't as good or as dangerous as Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook.  If you feel like I've said this before, it's because I have.

Yes, Green is athletic.  Yes, he probably has more talent than Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson.  For some reason, however, he doesn't seem to be utilizing that talent to the best of his ability.  Maybe he's content not being the go-to guy.  Maybe he's shying away from the star role.  Who knows what it is, but he is who he is and at this point people should stop expecting him to be anything more than what he is: A nice player who does some things well.

Those guys are a dime a dozen in the NBA.  They don't lead championship teams.

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