While the Boston Celtics had an impressive season last year taking the eventual Champs to seven games, it was clear their bench just wasn’t strong enough to make it to the NBA Finals. However, Jeff Green, who was out the entire season with an aortic aneurysm, will be the leader of one of the best benches in the league in 2012-13.
Although Green’s numbers dipped considerably after being traded from Oklahoma City to the C’s in 2011, his shooting percentage actually rose to 48.5 percent. For a player who was unfamiliar with coming off the bench, he played very well in his reduced role with Boston.
In his 26 games with the Celtics, Green averaged 9.8 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game in just 23.5 minutes per contest. With a full offseason and training camp to help improve chemistry, Green should see those numbers rise even more and should have a bigger impact on Boston’s season this year.
Back in the 2010-11 season, the Celtics had Glen Davis, who was great for them off the bench. As the backup power forward, Davis averaged 11.7 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game. With Davis gone, there’s an opening for Green to play power forward if the C’s go small.
Green will become a very valuable piece for the Celtics because of his diversity. While he will see the majority of his minutes at small forward, Green was the starting power forward for a very good Thunder squad back in 2011. With Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett both getting up there in years, Green should see a ton of minutes in the regular season when the old Celtics stars are resting.
Don’t be surprised if Green sees close to 30 minutes per game, with averages of 13 points and 4.5 rebounds. While he probably won’t win the Sixth Man of the Year award with those numbers, his impact should be similar to Lamar Odom’s when he was on the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Celtics already had a very impressive starting five entering the 2012 offseason and knew their bench was key to getting past Miami in the Eastern Conference. Adding Jason Terry and Courtney Lee were both very good additions but expect Green to have the biggest impact of the three. If Boston wins a championship this season, he will be one of the main reasons why.