Boston Celtics: What to Make of Jeff Green’s Hot Start


Despite a 3-6 record, the Boston Celtics, led by the enigmatic Jeff Green, have been a pleasant surprise on offense. Yes, this is the same offense that has sputtered down the stretch of consecutive crushing home losses to the Cavaliers and Suns.

Brad Stevens has the Celtics playing an uptempo style of basketball that has produced the third most points in the league. Boston is also scoring 107.5 points per 100 possessions, good enough for the sixth best offensive rating in the league, per

The key has been the pace the team plays with, generating 99.98 possessions per 48 minutes, which is the fourth most in the league. This starts with Boston’s ability to control the defensive glass, snagging 31.1 defensive rebounds per game, which puts them in the top five in the NBA.

Once they secure the rebound, the Celtics turn the game into a track meet. Their perimeter players sprint out in transition and you’ll often see Kelly Olynyk or Tyler Zeller make an impact on the fastbreak as well.

One player in particular who is thriving in Stevens’ aggressive system is Green. The seven-year veteran has all star potential but can be frustratingly inconsistent.  That has not been the case so far this season.

Green is using the fastbreak to get himself in rhythm, scoring 15.6 percent of his points in transition. Some of these come in highlight reel fashion, such as Green’s posterization of Phoenix’s Marcus Morris.

He has also added a new dynamic to his offensive repertoire, taking defenders down to the blocks, where his length and athleticism make him difficult to stop.

This has helped Green get to the free throw line a team-high 4.7 times per game. This is considerably higher than any of his teammate, as Rajon Rondo is second on the team with 2.5 attempts per game. Green is also doing a better job of taking advantage of his trips to the charity stripe, making 85.7 percent of his free throws, compared to converting just 72 percent of his foul shots through the first nine games of last season.

All of this has helped to make Jeff Green a more efficient scorer. According to, through nine games last season, Green had an effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage of 46.9 percent and 52 percent, respectively. Through the first nine games of this season, those numbers have risen to 51.1 percent and 56.5 percent, respectively.

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Green’s increase in offensive production has come at a price though. Per, through the first nine games of last season, he allowed 99.9 points per 100 possessions. Through the first nine games of this season, Green’s defensive rating has ballooned to 111.6.

He is allowing the most second chance points and fast break points on the Celtics, yielding 10.3 points and 9.6 points, respectively, per

So, the next challenge for Green is learning how to balance exerting more energy on the offensive end with being able to be more effective defensively. Quite frankly this is a team-wide problem. Boston as a whole has looked slow defensively, and it has consistently been burned by players doing a poor job rotating.

Part of that is a result of playing a faster and more aggressive brand of basketball offensively. As the Celtics get settled defensively – no telling when that will happen – expect Green to do the same. Depending on when that happens and what his offensive production looks like when it does occur, Jeff Green might turn in the best season of his NBA career.