“We haven’t really figured out Jeff and when to use Jeff or felt an urgency to go to Jeff,” said Ainge to WEEI. “I think that Jeff has had some favorable matchups through the course of the game, but at the same time our main offensive sets that go through [Rajon] Rondo and Paul [Pierce] and [Kevin Garnett] are working. There’s not really a need to change what we’re doing to go there. I think Jeff has been inconsistent in his production and just trying to find his way. I think him more than any other player, is just trying to find where he contributes. What we need from Jeff, is we need him to play that great defense, rebound every night. There’s going to be nights where he can get that 20 points off the bench, and some nights where his number isn’t called that much,” he added. “He’s been fairly productive when we’ve called his number, but he hasn’t been a productive playing off the ball and playing off of our stars.”
Jeff Green has the potential to be a game-changer, but the C’s just haven’t found a way to put him in his element yet. In his pre-prime, with Oklahoma City, Green averaged over 16 points per game while playing upwards of 37 minutes per night. Now, following heart surgery, Green is finding it difficult to re-adapt to the NBA. He’s seeing jut 21.8 minutes per game this season, yet few thought he would see much more of a workload to begin with.
Will we see Green return to the kind of numbers he was posting his sophomore season in the NBA? He’s still only 26, but no one really knows how the heart surgery will impact him long-term. He’s averaging less than half as many points as he did four seasons ago, but the circumstances make it all quite understandable. Danny Ainge seems to know Green is capable of putting up 20+ —we all do—but it will take time for Green to re-acclimate to the NBA, and he hasn’t done so yet.
Ainge seems to take the standpoint that time will be the cure here, but there really isn’t any rationale other than optimism for such thought. Green has a long ways to go to return to his former self, and it’s going to be a piece-wise process. It begins with his number being called more, as Ainge indicated, and ends with Green just flat out busting his butt.