Who would have thought that coming into this season after having heart surgery that Jeff Green would become one of the most vital players to the Boston Celtics success this season. Since the All-Star break Green has been averaging 16 points per game, and instead of showing flashes of what he can do for short periods of time, he’s been able to play with the same energy throughout entire games. What Celtics fans have been witnessing since January is the Jeff Green that Danny Ainge envisioned when he traded beloved center Kendrick Perkins in February of 2011 to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Two years later you won’t hear the complaints from Celtics fans on the trade if you turn on the radio or walk down the street. If you play well in Boston, you earn the love of the fans, and that’s what Jeff Green is doing.
Earlier in the season, it was Green’s athletic ability that got the fans hungry for more high flying dunks from him. It seemed like every night Green would be posterizing someone, and on that list consists some decent power forwards like Al Jefferson. Now he’s doing everything from hitting the perimeter jump shot, to driving to the basket with power, playing stellar defense, and making chase down blocks. Green has definitely developed into more of an all around player, doing everything it takes to get the Celtics victories on a nightly basis.
On Wednesday night, Jeff Green made the game winning layup on a great play that was drawn up by coach Doc Rivers. Two years ago that would have never happened, and Green wouldn’t have been in the position confidence-wise to have attempted such a play. With each passing game this season, Green has gained more confidence, not only in his game, but in himself. At first he was tentative, not sure what his body would allow him to do after the surgery, but once he gained his strength and game back he’s been absolutely sensational.
Two years ago, after being acquired for Kendrick Perkins, a lot of doubt swirled around him and many questioned whether he would fully replace Perkins in terms of production. After the last few months, what fans hoped for in Green is finally coming to fruition. Perkins will never be replaced, and even now the Celtics still miss his inside presence and rebounding ability. Green plays with his own style, and for me, that’s good enough. There were signs he was going to be a good player a few years ago, but now he’s been able to come in and make an impact every night.
Gary Tanguay of CSNNE said after the Boston Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers, that Green is the future of the franchise. While I think that was the plan all along, it’s definitely become evident that when Paul Pierce retires, Green will be able to step up and produce the numbers that Boston will desperately need with their captain gone. Jeff Green is going to be important for the Celtics when the postseason begins, and for them to get far, it will be players like Green who might have to carry the team a few games in April and May.