Jeff Green: The Best Dunking Boston Celtic of All Time?
Previously a grinding, defence-oriented team—with a roster full of aging veterans—the team has added some potent athletic firepower, which it had been lacking for some time.
With his young legs and dazzling above-the-rim game, Green allows the Celtics to play a much faster, fluid game than in the last decade. Green is a perfect physical specimen, with excellent body control both on the ground and in the air.
When added to his ability to withstand contact and finish around the basket, he is a dangerous player for any opposing team's defence.
Green is sure to delight Celtics fans in coming years, many of whom have grown accustomed to a slower, grounded offence. He is undoubtedly the most athletic Celtic on the current roster—see the great alley-oop dunk in the recent game against the Golden State Warriors.
But is he the best dunker to ever grace the court as a Celtic?
The Celtics have seldom been blessed with players in the Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant mould—athletic freaks able to break defenders down one-on-one and dunk over them. However, there have been a number of exciting dunkers through the years.
Brown was the first Celtic to win an NBA Slam Dunk title. Brown's no-look dunk won him the 1991 Slam Dunk Competition, as well as a providing perfect product placement for the then-cutting edge Reebok Pumps.
However, Brown's dunking prowess was largely limited to outside games. His in-game dunks were few and far between, largely because of his lack of size.
Gerald Green/Nate Robinson
Both Green and Robinson share a similar space in Celtics history with Brown—Slam Dunk Competition winners who were unable to translate that success into their on-court performance.
Whilst both made their contributions to the Celtics at the time, neither was feared for their on-court dunking.
Both players' Slam Dunk Competition victories relied more on novelty than pure dunking ability, and as such both failed to translate their staged dunking skills into in-game artistry.
From the moment he was drafted by the Celtics in the 2004 NBA Draft, Allen sent a message to the league that he was a dunking machine.
For many seasons Allen was the lone bright spark of athleticism on Celtics teams that had little to inspire the average fan, until the 2007 addition of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett marked their return to relevancy.
Although few Celtics fans missed Allen's 7.8 points per game when he left for the Memphis Grizzlies, many did miss his aerial acts.
Wilkins was well past his prime by the time he joined the Celtics for the 1994-1995 season. He still had some hops left, but for most Celtics fans his dunks that year were impressive only if seen with the nostalgia-tinged glasses of yesteryear.
At one time, early in his high school and college career, Bradley was mentioned in the same breath as John Wall. Many saw him as an athletic 2-guard in the Russell Westbrook mode. Ultimately, Bradley has yet to live up to that potential on the court for the Celtics.
However, if his YouTube videos and college highlights are anything to go by, he could one day be the most explosive dunker seen in Celtics green.
So, from a relatively limited field, is Jeff Green the best dunker ever to play for the Celtics? It is a close call, with most of his competition coming from role players and bit players.
In the end, it may be too early to make a decision as to whether he is the Celtics' all-time best dunker, but I am confident the Celtics will enjoy finding out.
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