The Boston Celtics have a long history that dates back to 1946, and since then, there have been a handful of players who were the face of the franchise in their era. In the last 30 years, Larry Bird and Paul Pierce have been hall of fame players who left their mark in the Celtics history books. But is a new player ready to take the throne and be given the keys to the team? His name is Jeff Green. Not even 24 hours after having a career night scoring 43 points, questions have been asked. Is Green becoming the player that Danny Ainge saw when he traded Kendrick Perkins, and is he ready to take the next step to being a great player for the Celtics?
While it’s only one game, the fact that Green displayed his talent on national television against the best team in the NBA speaks volumes. He’s played well the past few months and when Green has been given minutes as a starter, he steps up in major ways. Last night, to go up against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh and literally dominate to the point that the Heat couldn’t contain him, makes me believe he’s ready to step forward.
Paul Pierce is getting up there in age, and while I wouldn’t put it past him to have a 40 point night, he’s not young or spry enough to do that on a nightly basis, but Green is. Throughout his career, Pierce was compared to Bird, but both players had their own individual way of playing and scoring. Green is a unique player, one who I can’t find a comparison to, at least not in the last 20 years. Brian Scalabrine compared him to James Worthy because of his length and ability to extend over defenders, but Green is different.
I’d hate to put him in the same categories with Hall of Fame players, but Green has some skills that remind you of some legends in NBA history. When he takes it to the rim, it’s one dribble in, then takes off from a decent distance from the basket and scoops the ball in for the layup. His extension is almost Michael Jordan-like, but again, I’d hate to put him in the same sentence with one of the greatest players of all-time. Let’s stick with him being a unique player who has been blessed with talent that not many players in the NBA possess.
Is Jeff Green what Reggie Lewis could have been to the franchise? After the last month or so, he’s positioning himself to becoming a franchise player. Because of Green, Pierce’s career could very well be extended as he is not required to do as much since Green’s emergence. He’s also making the transition period smoother than it could have been as he’s becoming a candidate for the team to build around. Green has the ability to score 25 points a night and take over games down the stretch which makes him a likely heir apparent to Paul Pierce.
Of course, another question arises. Where does this leave Rajon Rondo and how does he fit into the Celtics future plans? Whether you’re for keeping Rondo or trading him, the results don’t lie, Boston is winning games in his absence. Is Green thriving because he’s been given time to operate and not being a spot up shooter like he was earlier in the season? I’m beginning to believe that Rondo may have hindered him in a way. This is certainly not a knock on him, but Green’s offensive game is not cohesive with Rondo’s and it would be mistake to try changing either one’s individual game.
There are a lot of questions that need to be ironed out during the offseason, but for right now, Jeff Green has stepped into the spotlight humbly but also with confidence. One thing is for sure, after last night, no one will question whether Boston signing him to that extension was a mistake. We’ll just have to be patient and see if this season was a fluke, or he’s begun the process in becoming the next face of the franchise for an already historical team filled with Hall of Famers.