It's time for Jeff Green to contribute
The Boston Celtics aren't used to much disappointment in these past few seasons of relative success, but there's a different feeling in the air this year.
It almost feels like the Celtics are just trying to hang on.
Trying to hang on to their legacy, to their hopes and to their season.
What about the guys who seemed like they would have a great year, but are ending up as average players at best?
Here's a look at some of Boston's most disappointing players so far this season.
All statistics in this article are accurate as of games played through Nov. 27.
Jeff Green's preseason was misleading
After missing the entire 2011-2012 season from heart surgery to fix an aortic aneurysm, Green returned to action with a strong preseason.
He averaged 13.9 points per game and shot 49.4 percent from the field. It also appeared as though his outside shot had returned, as he averaged 40 percent from three-point range.
All signs were pointing toward a successful comeback.
Then the regular season started.
Now, anytime a player can play basketball again after having heart surgery, then of course it's going to be considered a successful comeback. That alone can't be overlooked.
Still, his regular-season numbers are nowhere near his preseason ones.
(It's important to note that he's receiving eight less minutes per game in the regular season, so keep that in mind when looking at his numbers.)
His 8.1 points per game are 5.8 less than his preseason totals. On top of that, he's barely shooting over 40 percent from the field.
If you guessed that his three-point shooting has also dropped, then you nailed that one right on the head. He's only knocking down 26 percent of his threes.
Boston needs Green to be a high-energy player who can be counted on to contribute. He's a 6' 9", 235-lb small forward with a versatile offensive game. His skill level would suggest numbers much higher than the ones he's currently putting up.
Things are looking bad right now, but he's barely into his first season in over a year. There's plenty of time for him to turn his game around, so let's not hit the panic button just yet.
Boston certainly isn't going to.
Pretty much how his rookie year has gone
Falling from a lottery pick to late in the first round made Jared Sullinger one of the most interesting rookies from the start.
How many players go from the top to the bottom as quickly as he did, and all because he might have future back problems?
The man had so much to prove and got off to a quick start in the summer league.
He put up 11.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. What was more impressive was how explosive he looked.
They did say that he could suffer from back problems, right? It would have been difficult to tell.
The preseason rolled around and he averaged almost identical numbers in 26 minutes per game. This was more impressive because he was going against legitimate NBA talent. It looked like the Celtics ended up with a steal when they drafted him at No. 21.
Fast forward to the present day and you'll see him averaging 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds through 14 games.
Why the sudden disappearance?
This one is pretty simple: He's just not quite ready yet.
He played well against summer league players and showed that he can hang with second-stringers in the NBA preseason, but the regular season is a different beast.
Teams focus their game plan on specific players with the purpose of taking them out of what they do best. Opposing coaches have figured out Sullinger's game and are making adjustments accordingly.
The disappointment comes from how people expected a little more from him. He doesn't need to be a double-double guy yet, but he should be producing at a slightly higher level.
Being a one-dimensional player is hurting Sullinger's production right now. He doesn't have multiple go-to moves that can counter defenders, and he hasn't figured out the nuances of the game yet.
That will all come with time, though.
For now, he needs to battle through some of the struggles that a young rookie is bound to go through.
There needs to be more of these moments out of Jason Terry
Jason Terry, once considered as the best sixth man in the NBA, is off to a solid start to this season.
You're probably wondering why he's on the list, then.
The answer to that one is easy: he's disappointing because of how reserved he's been playing.
It feels like he's trying not to make mistakes when he's on the floor.
This has sort of a love/hate aspect to it.
It's great because he really isn't making many mistakes. He's shooting 50 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range. His 1.4 turnovers per game are clearly not hurting the team, as that is a really low number for somebody who handles the ball as much as he does.
It's terrible because although he's not making many mistakes, he's also missing many of the characteristics that make him Jason Terry. His shooting numbers are high, but he's only taking 7.6 shots per game.
The last time he took so few attempts was his rookie year in the 1999-2000 season. He's only averaged single-digit shot attempts in one season since.
There hasn't been enough of Terry's fun, electrifying moments.
He needs to stop worrying about making mistakes and get back to playing his kind of game.
His numbers might not look as pretty, but he'll impact the team in a more positive way than he currently does.
The Celtics are going to need Courtney Lee to score more
Measuring productivity strictly on statistics is a dangerous game, but there is some value behind it.
Maybe a player who gets a large amount of minutes is more of a defensive player, so his offensive numbers aren't too high. Or maybe that player is strictly a three-point threat, but he's not finding a way to get his shot off, so his numbers are lower than they should be.
Courtney Lee's skill set would suggest that he doesn't fall into either of those categories.
Sure, he's a skilled defensive player who should hopefully provide the Celtics with a one-on-one stopper come playoff time, but defense isn't the only part of his game that shines.
He was a talented scorer in college, then brought many of those same scoring skills to the NBA. He has been an offensive playmaker in much of his young career, but you wouldn't know it by watching him on the Celtics.
Lee is sixth on the team in minutes per game, but ninth in points scored. Remember, this isn't some player that can't play offense.
Being one of the Celtics' younger players means that he'll need to give the team more over the middle of the season. That's arguably the hardest stretch of the season, and many of Boston's older players may need rest.
We'll excuse his slow start and credit it to a new team and new environment, but that excuse can only last for so long.
Avery Bradley's return is highly anticipated
Thinking about where Boston would be if they had Avery Bradley back is a bit frustrating.
Okay, it's very frustrating.
Bradley is recovering from surgery to both of his shoulders after repeated dislocations. He's expected to return sometime in December, and it couldn't be more anticipated.
While he's not the most talented player when he hits the floor, he always seems to find a way to change the game.
There seem to be those players that are extremely talented but can't quite find a way to make an impact when they do play. Then, there are those players who don't seem to have all of the tools, but they end up consistently making positive game-changing plays.
Bradley falls into the second category.
He's not playing, but there does appear to be some good news for Celtics fans.
Masslive.com's Jay King wrote about how Bradley's mind is getting sharper as he's sitting out. He alluded to an interview that Bradley did with the Comcast Sports Network:
There were some of those things (head coach) Doc (Rivers) would yell at us about. [He would] look at us like, 'Are you serious? You don't see that? You don't see what I see?' We'd be like, 'No, we don't.'
Now I see those things and I look at people that way, like, 'Why aren't you doing things that way?' I look at the game completely different, it's weird. It's like once you know the plays and you feel comfortable, you know all the other teams' sets, it's like you know everything and it's just easier. I know Paul (Pierce) and them can say the same thing, too.
If Bradley can take everything that he's learned while being sidelined and apply it to the court when he returns, then it sounds like Boston could have a dangerous weapon on their hands.
A weapon that will do what he does best.