Boston Celtics: 3 Areas Where Jeff Green Must Improve
Naturally, they will be looking to add more talent to the roster once the lockout ends, but they will also look to use players already signed and mold them into stars who can handle the pressure and expectations of success created by the Big Three.
One of these already-present players is likely to be Jeff Green.
Arriving in Boston this past February following the trade of Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Green spent much of the remainder of the Celtics' 2010-11 campaign on the bench behind a star-studded starting five and an already established bench.
However, he did see some key minutes in both the regular season and the playoffs, and demonstrated that with some practice and extra playing time, he could eventually become a starter at the small forward position once Paul Pierce retires.
With that being said, Jeff Green still needs to work on his game before he's ready to be introduced with the starters at TD Garden any time soon. There are several important things that he'll need to improve.
1. Physicality on Defense
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Jeff Green certainly isn't a poor defender, as he's shown himself to already be capable of going up against LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and other NBA superstars and giving them problems. However, he has to continue to become more physical to remain a strong member of the Celtics, a team that consistently prides itself on its tough defense.
Following in the footsteps of Paul Pierce, one of the better defensive small forwards of this generation of players, Green will have some big shoes to fill once he establishes himself as the Celtics' starter at the position.
At first glance, Jeff Green comes across as a tad on the thin side; at 6'9" and 235 lbs, it might do him some good to try and gain some weight in muscle over the offseason in order to increase his defensive presence.
2. Getting Open
Statistically speaking, Jeff Green is a pretty decent shooter.
He's shooting .445 from the field for his career, and shot .485 in limited regular season action with the Celtics. He could stand to improve that number by getting open more often and taking shots he already knows how to make.
This will be easier in the coming season (assuming there is one), as he will most certainly benefit from increased playing time due to the age of Pierce and the Big Three, giving him the opportunity to step up and perform.
With the extra time, Green will have more opportunity to acclimate himself to the Celtics' offense; if Green can learn the ins and outs of Doc Rivers' system and how he fits into it, he will be better equipped to find holes in the defenses of opponents and take more shots, which will certainly lead to more points thanks to Green's shooting abilities.
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As I've said before, Jeff Green has some pretty big shoes to fill. Not only will he have to find a way to try and match Paul Pierce's skills and abilities (which may not even be possible), he'll have to find a way to match the intensity of not only Pierce, but the rest of the established Celtics veterans as well.
In addition to on-court dominance, this version of the Boston Celtics, led by the Big Three, has made a name for itself through its collective emotional intensity. On more than one occasion, it has been shear drive and determination that has willed the Celtics to victory over younger, healthier opponents (see their 2010 Playoff run). The emotional leadership found in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen can probably never be duplicated again, but the team will need the same kind of leadership from its younger generation.
With Jeff Green likely assuming the role of heir-apparent to the starting small forward position, he will have to become fully ingrained in the Celtics mystique (think of it as the basketball version of the Patriot Way) before too long if he is to stay in Boston for an extended period of time, and along with Rajon Rondo, he'll have to channel the passion and leadership of the Big Three as well.