Jeff Green ready for takeoff.
The Boston Celtics struggle mightily to put up points, but Jeff Green has been the MVP. The weight of scoring has fallen on the shoulders of the small forward. He has fallen short of some fans’ expectations, but he is still producing. Green is the team's leading scorer and capable of single-handedly carrying the offense at any given moment.
Green has not been an efficient shooter during the 2013-14 season, with 5.7 field goals made on 13.8 attempts per game. Despite the hollow volume, he is also averaging 16.4 points per game, just 0.1 point shy of his 2008-09 career high with the Oklahoma City Thunder and 2.4 points above his career average.
His game log is erratic: Green scored just eight points on 2-of-13 shooting against the Orlando Magic on February 2. Three days later he exploded for 36 points on 11-of-18 shooting against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Green only had a field-goal percentage above .400 once in his four games since February 5, but he still averaged 18.5 PPG over that four-game span.
Green can be erratic, passive and make Celtics fans reach for a bottle of Tylenol and a glass of water. He can also make fans red from clapping and stretch vocal chords in celebration.
Fans cannot forget his ultra-clutch, game-winning three-pointer on November 9, 2013 against the Miami Heat. The Celtics were down by two points with just 0.6 seconds remaining and Green celebrated in the Heat’s arena.
Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass are the only other Celtics averaging over 10 PPG. The offense, which currently ranks 25th in the NBA with in PPG, would suffer dramatically without Green.
The team ranks 21st in the NBA in three-point field-goal percentage with just .331. Green lifts the Celtics with his .360 shooting from behind the arc. After all is said and done, he is the team’s leading scorer and go-to man late in games.
Green is logging the most minutes on the Celtics with an average of 33.7 per game. He is a workhorse who has stayed healthy all season.
Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge signed Green to a four-year, approximately $36 million contract in August 2012, just one week shy of his 25th birthday. Ainge saw a player with potential, maybe not Paul Pierce’s replacement but perhaps close.
Emerging from Pierce’s shadow is not an easy task, nor is it a reasonable expectation for Green. The 2013-14 season is his first year as the team’s primary scorer.
Green has flashed All-Star potential with three above-30-point performances this season. With more time to adjust to his larger role, he could develop into a consistent shooter the Celtics can build around. Or Ainge can trade him and fans watch him break through with another team.