The Boston Celtics are getting old. Paul Pierce is old. Kevin Garnett is old. At some point, someone new is going to have to take over as the leader of this team. Lately, it looks as if that someone could be Jeff Green.
Green is in his sixth season with the Celtics since being drafted out of Georgetown. College basketball fans may remember his buzzer beater to beat the Vanderbilt Commodores in the Sweet Sixteen in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, (Vanderbilt fans will remember he traveled on the play). He led the Hoyas to the Final Four in 2007. Teamed with Roy Hibbert, now of the Indiana Pacers, they lost in the semifinals to the Ohio State Buckeyes of Mike Conley and Greg Oden.
He has patiently played behind the “Big Three” of Garnett, Pierce, and Ray Allen, and also Rajon Rondo. As of late however, Green has been the man for the Celtics. He has scored over 20 points six times in the Celtics last 10 games including 27 points twice and a 34 point game against the Detroit Pistons on April 3rd.
This is not to say that Pierce and Garnett can just disappear in the Celtics playoff series agaisnt the New York Knicks, but the guy who will need to have a big series is Green. He has emerged as the go-to scorer coming down the stretch for Boston. As Pierce and Garnett retire, Green is the guy the Celtics will have to build around for the future.
With Green and a healthy Rajon Rondo, an emerging Jared Sullinger if healthy and shooting guard Courtney Lee, the Celtics have a nucleus to build around for many seasons. Green will likely be the main scorer at power forward for this group. This playoff series could be his “coming out party” where the league gets to know Jeff Green.
Many fans may remember what he did earlier in the season when the Miami Heat came to Boston riding their long win streak. Green had 43 points in the game when the Heat were playing at their best. His efforts helped Boston build a huge lead in the game before Lebron James caught fire and led the Celtics back in the fourth quarter to win a close one. That game showed what Green is capable of. It was probably the first time may NBA fans had ever heard of Jeff Green.
By the end of this playoffs, if Boston does anything at all, everyone will know who Jeff Green is then.