Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
'A' stands for airtime.
Speaking of limitless potential, Jeff Green tapped into his this season. It must be pretty gratifying to be a star in this city, considering the wild roller coaster he's had with it.
In June 2007, Ainge drafted him at pick no. 5. On June 28 of the same year, he traded Green to Seattle as part of the package that brought Ray Allen to the Celtics.
In February 2011, Ainge brought him back to Boston in a controversial trade with Oklahoma City involving Kendrick Perkins, which left the majority of Boston hating Ainge and despising Green.
Then, in December 2011, Green was diagnosed with an aortic root aneurysm which required immediate surgery. Shira Springer of the Boston Globe writes:
"Green, 26, was among those who doubted he would ever return. When he awoke from surgery on Jan. 9, he could not move. He had a breathing tube down his throat, three drainage tubes in his chest, three IVs, a tightly bandaged rib cage, and a catheter."
Now he's back, fully recovered and providing not just the best comeback story of the year but also the most surprising emergence to stardom. Green's inside-outside onslaught this season has been nothing short of spectacular.
In the face of adversity, he has slashed to the hoop, knocked down treys and played crisp defense on and off the ball.
Green's 2012-13 campaign has been an advanced-metric fan's dream: he set career highs in true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage, assist ratio and player efficiency rating.
For the less fancy, consider this: he averaged a career-best 18.4 points and 2.3 assists per 40 minutes, and shot a career-high .466.
After season-long absence last year, many began to wonder if Green would ever pan out into what Ainge always saw in him. He did, in a major way. His athleticism, aggressiveness and ability to exploit mismatches has put him on the map of elite scorers.
If he can continue to ramp up his defense and rebounding skills and develop 48-minute-a-game, 82-game-a-year consistency, he could be the heir apparent to Paul Pierce in a couple years. He's not quite ready for prime time yet, but he's as close to it as he is to that scar on his chest.