Alright. A lot has changed since...well I haven't written here for a while. The Celtics are a different team now, due to block buster trades (Garnett, Pierce, Terry traded to Brooklyn), injuries (Rondo's knee) and an influx of new players. Names like Gerald Wallace, Marshon Brooks, Vitor Faverani, Kris Humpheries. and new rookie additions like Phil Pressey and Kelly Olynyk are now playing for Boston. And one of the most startling changes which hit fans like a one two punch; the'trade' of coach Doc RIvers (?) to the LA Clippers and then the most stealthy and replacement of of head coach by canny Danny Ainge - hiring college wonder coach Brad Stevens to replace the much beloved Doc (without any one knowing until the Celtics released the information). The skill of 'canny Danny' to do this in the modern sports media environment is astounding. Plus he traded down in this years draft to get Olynyk, who dismantled summer league and as been surveyed from NBA General Managers to be the biggest a steal of this years draft. But time will tell.
So life hasn't ended for Celtics fans. Rondo will return and the at the time this was written, the celtics have notched their third victory. And they got their last W with a degree of difficulty that was off the scale. A young and unrated Celtics team went into the two time sending champions MIami's house, they hung around and weathered great shooting and...well LeBron, took advantage of some boneheaded plays in the last two minutes by the Heat and then....off an inbounds pass from Gerald Wallace and some brilliant decoy plays - Jeff Green hit a three going out of bounds from the corner with the best player in the world in his face. Boom. Fairy tale victory complete.
So right now a lot is being written about this shot and the player who hit it. And rightly so. Jeff Green is player of rare ability; he can play three positions, can defend, get to the rim and hit threes from his spots. He has everything he needs to dominate. But as any Celtics fan will know Green's consistency is the issue. This year with Rondo of the court and new players and a coach, Jeff Green has a stage set for him. and as I find my self still revelling in the sheer audacity of the defeat of the heat, I ask myself is this the time? Is this the moment that we as celtics fans mark the level of his ability not only improving - but are we seeing the rise of a franchise player. Or the ruse of one?
I am a fan of Jeff Green. He is the apitomy of the modern NBA player; strong, athletic and most notably versatile. It is I believe an issue of assertiveness and being an aggressive player at the same time knowing (as any great player does) when to take the stage and when to defer to the right player or the guy with the hot hand. This is the riddle of Jeff Green, having the confidence to move on to that next level which we have seen in his game with consistent greater frequency. I believe it is safe to say that the lapses between these eye catching flashes of brilliant play are decreasing rapidly. Although he has not top scored every game this season he leads the team in points averaged, while in certain games he is scoring less with a similar effectiveness - letting players like Brandon Bass take the big shots and continue Basses development as the teams next defensive lynch pin after the void left by Garnett.
It is fair to say that this season will see Green become a significantly better player. We will see better stretches of play were his dominance is not the focus, but his decision making has developed to a point were the future of this now rebuilding team will be far better because he knows what to do at an instinctive level. Where makes the killer move when and the right move for his team when the game is on the line. When Rondo returns this club will gain cohesion again, with a seasoned allstar point guard actively leading the team on the floor. Green by that time may take a significant jump again getting cleaner looks having the ball delivered to him by Rondo - but teams will have to contend (hyperthetically) with a Green having learned from this time right now. Where he makes that game winner with LeBron in his face or having 12 point nights but Sulinger, Bass or Bradley get double digits benefiting form green getting double teams and kicking out the open look or setting the first pass in motion that leads to Pressey scoring on the 4th pass. When Jeff Green has an awareness of how good he is, were he finds ways to just take over a game or use the attention he gets from defenses to get the ball to others with a sheer command of his will, that is when we will truly see the jump we are all waiting for this potential laden player to make. It may have gone up a level in Miami with that shot, but ultimately it will end with the choices Green makes on the floor from this point on.
Green and white for life.