Boston Celtics: Predicting the Role and Impact of Jeff Green
I recently wrote an article about how Jeff Green can improve so that he will be worth his expected $9 million contract. Basically, I contended that Green was already in top physical shape, so he needed to improve himself mentally to become an elite player.
Two seasons ago, he didn't have a clear-cut role on the Celtics, which left him searching for one. As a result, his game suffered.
Now, here we are, two years, one heart surgery and one big payday later. Green has yet to truly prove himself on the court for the Celtics. And really, he has yet to earn that contract. But the Celtics wouldn't have agreed to the deal unless they were confident Green could earn every penny they promised him.
Green has potential like few other players with his size and athleticism. But in order for the Celtics to truly tap that potential, they will need to give him a role.
Green needs an identity as a Boston Celtic.
A good way to start would be by giving him a position. He is a small forward, not a power forward. In certain situations, the Celtics could use him at power forward when they go small. But for the most part, they should keep Green at his natural position of small forward.
From there, they should tell him what their expectations are of him and how he can accomplish them. He needs to be a force off the bench, on both ends of the floor. Defensively, he must guard the opposing team's small forward.
This may not always be the most difficult task, but at times, when he is matched up against the likes of LeBron James, he will need to be up to the challenge.
On offense, things will get a bit more complicated. The Celtics will want him to score, but within the team concept.
Occasionally, post ups will be available for him. At other times, the Celtics will want him to camp out at the three-point line. But Green can't rely on those two outlets for his entire offense. Green must bring his a complete offensive game to the table every night.
By using every scoring method in his arsenal, Green will keep defenses on their toes and he will be able to score much more easily.
If he accepts this and realizes exactly how to properly use all of his talents, then the Celtics should make him the go-to-guy off the bench. The offense could easily run through him, and he could create shots for players like Jason Terry and Courtney Lee.
Then, he could potentially earn a spot in the coveted closing lineup. And with the extra minutes and increased comfort that would bring, Green would be able to return to his pre-Celtics form—when he averaged around 15 points a game.
But beyond the points, he will have a huge impact on every game just by playing solid defense, rebounding and creating matchup problems off the bench with his size and athleticism.
The Celtics needed that kind of impact last season to beat the Miami Heat and advance to The Finals. Hopefully, it will be enough next season to beat the Heat and raise banner No. 18.
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