Last night, Jeff Green made the case that he should start for the Boston Celtics. Green scored 31 points against the Phoenix Suns and dominated throughout the entire game on both ends of the floor. He didn’t look hesitant, and for the first time this season Green created his own offense at the top of the key, which I think he should do a lot more of. Since Rajon Rondo’s season ended three weeks ago, Green has stepped up his offensive production, and in the last 10 games he’s averaged 16.7 ppg. Has this recent emergence of becoming a big time scorer earned Green a starting job, or at least given a bigger role coming off the bench for the Celtics?
Jeff Green was a starter when he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and in those years he was averaging close to 16 points per game. So, if he was to start for the Boston Celtics, which should definitely be considered for a few reasons, who would he replace in the starting lineup?
What makes Jeff Green so valuable is that he can play multiple positions; power forward, small forward, and point-forward. Having Paul Pierce coming off the bench behind Green makes the most sense. The Celtics are making their final push towards the playoffs, and if they want to have any chance of going far, getting Pierce and Kevin Garnett as much rest as possible is important. Of course, lineup changes may vary depending on who Boston’s opponent is. Doc Rivers could always start a game with a bigger lineup that consists of Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, and Jeff Green in the front court which brings size and versatility. Boston could also go with a similar lineup as we saw last night, but play Garnett at center, Green at power forward, and Pierce at small forward.
Whichever lineup Doc goes with, he can play Green for 40+ minutes a night, and limit Pierce’s playing time in the process. Besides Garnett, Pierce is the player Boston needs to be at full strength if they want to have any shot at the NBA Finals. Even though it was just one game against a really bad team, last night proved that Pierce isn’t needed as much in the regular season as he is in the postseason. Players like Green have really picked up the slack in Rondo’s absence, and it’s very possible that we’re witnessing the development of Green becoming a star instead of a role player coming off the bench.
Jeff Green is not just effective on offense, his defense is just as spectacular. His length allows him to cover some of the bigger small forwards and lengthy power forwards in the league. He hustles back on defense to get the LeBron James-like chase-down block, and in the half court, he disrupts passing lanes. It’s taken a while, but Green has developed into an all-around player and has become a very important piece to the organization.
This season has been very up and down for Green, but what’s absolutely astonishing is that team doctors are amazed at what he can do, especially after having heart surgery last season. Green is a special player, and so far has shown that he is worth every penny Boston is paying him. These last few weeks may have been a sign that the torch is slowly being passed down from Paul Pierce. Pierce can no longer do what he did in his prime a few seasons ago, but Jeff Green can. Within a few a years, it’s very possible that Green is the Boston Celtics newest starting small forward, and the way he’s played recently, the future looks bright after Pierce retires.