Tonight at 10:30 ET, Jeff Green will where the Celtic Green for the first time when the Celtics play against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. Of course, this date could have occurred a little sooner, say four years.
After a three year career at Georgetown, he achieved such accolades as Big East Rookie of the Year (2005), two-time All-Big East selection (2006 second-team, 2007 first-team), and Big East Men's Player of the Year (2007). Along with being named Conference Player of the Year in 2007, Green led the Hoyas to a Big East Tournament win before heading on a run to the Final Four, where they'd be eliminated by Ohio State. After his junior season, Green declared for the NBA draft, a sure fire lottery pick.
While Green was leading the Hoyas to the Final Four, the Celtics were wrapping up one of their worst seasons in team history. Marked by a franchise-record 18-game losing streak, the Celtics finished 24-58, second worse in the league, and were hopefully in prime position to nab a top-two pick, with the prize being Greg Oden or Kevin Durant.
As fate would have it, the lottery balls didn't fall the Celtics way, and they landed the fifth pick in the draft. Losing out on the top pick caused GM Danny Ainge to change the direction of the franchise. When David Stern walked to the podium, he announced that the Boston Celtics had selected Jeff Green out of Georgetown, but quickly it became clear that Green would not be coming to Beantown. Soon, it came out that in exchange for Ray Allen and the fifth pick in the second-round (Glenn Davis), Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, a future second-round pick, and Green had been dealt to the Seattle SuperSonics.
Green started 50 games his rookie year, averaging 10.5 ppg with the Sonics, but would take off his sophomore season. Gone were the Sonics in 2008, in were the Oklahoma City Thunder, and in their inaugural season Green had his best year to date.
Averaging career highs in points (16.5), rebounds (6.6), and assists (2.0), he was the wingman to the emerging Kevin Durant on a Thunder team on the rise. Green took a slight step back last year, but the Thunder made the playoffs for the first time in their new home, and gave the eventual champion Lakers a run for their money in the first round.
Green has maintained his play of last year (15.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg), while the Thunder sat in the fourth spot in the Western Conference, first in the Northwest division, at the time of his trade. A trade that occurred Thursday, at the trade deadline, sending Green back to the team that originally drafted him. Along with Nenad Kristic, Green was traded to the Celtics, for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson.
Green joins a Celtics team sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 41-15 record. No longer a starter, Green will be able to finally play at his natural position. During the previous three and half seasons, Green has been a power forward, due to Kevin Durant playing at the small forward. Now in Boston, he'll be asked to be a small forward off the bench, providing much needed diversity to the Celtics bench, and allowing more rest for Paul Pierce. Green gives the Celtics a piece they've been missing since the departure of James Posey after the 2008 Championship season.
With Carmelo Anthony now a Knick, and the ever-looming presence of Lebron James in Miami, Green's ability to match up against these elite forwards will be key come playoff time for a Celtics run at banner No. 18.
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