We’ve all seen it before Paul Pierce dribbles at the top of the key, runs out the shot clock and takes a stepback jumper at the elbow. It’s become so predictable and unsuccessful that in any clutch situation I see at least 20 “No ISO PIERCE” tweets streaming down my timeline. Not to say Paul has lost his “clutch gene” or anything but a lot of the lift that he use to have in that jumper is now gone and it’s time for Doc to rely on someone else, someone like…….Oh I don’t know maybe Jeff Green?
I know what you’re thinking “Jeff can’t replace Paul!” and “Paul has hit so many game winners” but I’m not saying Jeff is going to replace Paul in the lineup or any nonsense like that just that Green can now step into the role that Paul may have outgrown. For his entire career Paul has been regarded as one of the best clutch shot makers in the league. He was one of the few very select people in the league who you really didn’t have to draw up a specific play for because you knew that he was going to get a great look. Athleticism never being a huge part of his game Paul has relied on savant like footwork and while that amazing footwork is still there you can tell Paul has lost a step. He can’t get to his spots as quick as he used to and like a I said before a lot of the lift in his jumper disappeared. This year Paul is shooting 43% in the ast 5 minutes of games within 5 pts, 35% in the last 1 minutes and 18% in the last 10 seconds of games.
While Jeff has never been tagged as having the supposed “clutch gene” he’s been phenomenal this year when it has counted. According to nba.com/stats Jeff is shooting a fantastic 53% in the last 5 minutes of games with the score within 5pts(Pretty good for a guy coming off Heart Surgery). He’s also already had two game winners this season let’s take a look at them.
The video above is of Jeff’s first gamewinner against Indiana. It featured one of the best out of timeout plays I’ve ever seen Doc draw up. It was simple(but very effective) misdirection play that had Pierce make the defense think he was posting up but instead screening Jeff’s man which freed him along the baseline for a difficult catch and finish.
This next video is one of Jeff’s most recent clutch exploits against Cleveland. This play had Jeff initially screen Terry’s man who then screened Jeff’s man which freed up the lane for the gamewinning layups.
Now these plays aren’t flashy like a stepback jumper but they’re precise and effective. They’re the type of plays that can catch a defense off guard and win you a game. And you don’t have to completely phase Paul out since he can still be used as a very effective decoy as evidenced in the Indy game. While Paul hasn’t exactly been super efficient in clutch situations he is still one of the leagues better playmakers in the league averaging 8.8 assists per 48 minutes of “clutch time” though as to not completely dissolve his role in the team.
Jeff is no Michael Jordan but he has been very good this season in the clutch. He’s going to be a huge part of this team in the foreseeable future so why not acclimate him to the role he’ll eventually fill, right now?
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