Boston Celtics Suffer Huge Blow with Jeff Green out for the 2011-12 NBA Season
When the announcement came in mid-December that Jeff Green was likely dealing with heart issues, it wasn't just the Boston Celtics, but the entire NBA world that held its collective breath over the health of one of the league's well-known players.
When it became official that Green would require surgery due to an aortic aneurysm, the concern was much more about whether Green would be alright, rather than his impact on the world of basketball.
Thanks to Green's team physical after Boston exercised his $9 million option—now voided, the issue was detected early, and it seems more than likely that Green will be able to resume his playing career next season.
Due to this good fortune, we can now about to talk about impact on the Celtics losing Green, rather than something worse.
Losing the talents of a dynamic and versatile player is never easy, and Green's absence will undoubtedly have a big impact on the Celtics.
Another Hit to Height
Without Jeff Green, the Boston Celtics are, once again, without as much height as they used to have.
The Celtics added both Brandon Bass—a more affordable player in comparison to Glen Davis, and Chris Wilcox in order to boost their physical strength down low.
With Green out and Nenad Krstic gone, the Celtics have nothing from the trade that sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Technically, the Celtics currently have five roster spots at 6'10” or more, but D-Leaguer Greg Stiemsma and rookie JaJuan Johnson are far from roster guarantees.
Troy Murphy and Krstic have zero impact on last year's postseason, and the Celtics did a good job of adding some physical depth in the briefest of free agencies.
Unless the Celtics are able to make another addition—which they may eventually have to, they will begin the season with a smaller rotation of big men than they had hoped for.
Not so Versatile
As was shown with the Oklahoma City Thunder, one of the most effective aspects of Green's game is his ability to alternate from a small forward to a power forward role with great fluidity.
Green's talents were not displayed in his short time with the Boston Celtics as they were with the Thunder, and it's a shame that Celtics fans may not get to see it.
Green has reasonable range for a big man—hovering around 30 percent from beyond the arc, but it's his unique ability to play a physical, inside-out game that the Celtics will end up missing most.
Green's skills are rare, and they would have been a major asset to a Boston team that lacks the athletic versatility of some of the younger squads.
Depth and Age
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It's no secret, the Boston Celtics big three—thanks to Father Time—have been gradually declining each year since Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett joined the team.
The age problem was particularly obvious last season, as the Celtics clearly struggled to handle the speed and athleticism of Miami's new big three.
Besides Rajon Rondo and newly acquire Brandon Bass, Jeff Green was the only other player on the Celtics roster under the age of 29 with any significant playing experience—I am not including Sasha Pavlovic thanks to a true lack of impact.
Green's opportunity to find his stride within the Celtics system has now been dashed, and fans without extensive NBA knowledge will struggle to realize what that means.
Not only was Green going to provide a backup to Garnett when the Celtics faced quicker teams—when Bass is not as much of an asset—but he would have also functioned as a backup at small forward to veteran Paul Pierce.
Green's absence limits head coach Doc Rivers' ability to be flexible with his rotation to size up various teams, and the Celtics now become more reliable on Bass, Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O'Neal to avoid getting into foul trouble.
The Celtics were going to rely heavily on Green to fill in the gaps of time that will likely increase as the season wears on. With several back-to-back games on the schedule, the Celtics will need to give Allen, Pierce and Garnett as much time as possible.
As if the Celtics didn't have enough problems to worry about already, the loss of Green could not come at a worse time for the boys in green—an organization about to embark on a season of question marks.