- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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What are the expectations for a healthy Jeff Green? Each weekday for a three-week span, ESPN Boston colleague Greg Payne and I are playing a game of over/under while trying to predict the potential production for a Celtics player during the 2012-13 campaign. Today's target: Jeff Green, who inked a four-year, $36 million contract with the Celtics after sitting out the 2011-12 campaign due to an aortic aneurysm.
Minutes per game: 30
* Forsberg: Over. Green averaged only 23.5 minutes per game during his abbreviated season with Boston in 2010-11 and owns a 33.6 career average (which is aided by having started 83.5 percent of his total appearances). The Celtics didn't shell out an average of $9 million per season to keep Green glued to the bench. He'll be Paul Pierce's primary backup and will get shuffled to the power forward spot in smaller lineups. More floor time should allow his natural abilities to take over instead of pressing as he often seemed to do in his first go-around with the Celtics.
* Payne: Under. Green will spend the majority of his time backing up Pierce at the small forward spot, but will also pick up some minutes playing power forward in certain lineups when Doc Rivers wants to go small. If Jared Sullinger doesn't play as much as I think he might, Green will see an uptake in minutes, but because I believe Sullinger will get minutes behind Brandon Bass, I'll say Green's minute total won't be as high as it might have been otherwise.
Points per game: 12
* Forsberg: Over. Green's career per-36-minute numbers suggest he averages about 12.4 points per game for a 30-minute stint. It would seem that Boston's second unit will lean heavy on Green and Jason Terry to shoulder the offensive load when the starters are off the floor. A 12-point benchmark seems obtainable and, combined with Terry's Sixth Man potential, would give Boston a 1-2 reserve punch it's never quite had in the Kevin Garnett era.
* Payne: Under. This one could easily go either way, but because I picked the over for Jason Terry in this category last week, I'll go with the under for Green. It'll be interesting to see how Green gets his points. Hopefully he attacks the rim more frequently than he fires off jump shots. Will he create for himself or rely more on a team-based attack to get his points? It's an important question, as Green wasn't able to establish himself as a legitimate scorer when he was first traded to Boston (granted, his new situation wasn't the easiest to adjust to). For now, I'll take the under in terms of points, and Celtics fans can hope I'm wrong.
Rebounds per game: 4.8
* Forsberg: Under. The Celtics absolutely need Green to be more aggressive on the glass, but his rebounding numbers suggest he's never been one to dominate there. For his career, Green's total rebound percentage is 8.6. Considering his size and athleticism, that number should be higher. Paul Pierce sits at 9.5 percent for his career, despite being three inches shorter. Green averaged 5.6 rebounds per game in his final season with Oklahoma City and the Celtics would love to get him around that number again.
* Payne: Under. Green's a super-athletic, 6-foot-9 forward, so he should be a good rebounder, right? Well, the numbers suggest he's not. Looking back at the 2010-2011 season (Green's last full season), he boasted a defensive rebounding rate of 13.5 in 49 games for the Thunder and 13.3 in 26 games for the Celtics. Green splits his time between the small forward and power forward spots, but, according to those numbers, he's a below-average rebounder at both spots. Per HoopData, the average defensive rebounding rate for power forwards playing over 20 minutes per game during the 2010-11 campaign was 20.7, and for small forwards playing over 20 minutes per game, it was 14.5. Only once in his career has Green posted a DRR above 14 and that came in the 2008-2009 season (16.3). Maybe playing more exclusively at the small forward spot will help Green boost his rebounding numbers, but for now, I'll take the under in this category.
Defensive rating: 100
* Forsberg: Under. Defensive rating is an estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions. For a comparison, Garnett is typically among the league leaders with a defensive rating around 94-95, while anything under 100 is a solid mark. For his career, Green is at 108 and a 102 rating during his short time in Boston was his best showing. Extended floor time with Boston's defensive-minded starting group will drive down his number and keep it out of triple digits.
* Payne: Under. I'm basing this more off of the Celtics' defensive reputation than I am on Green himself. Green boasts all of the physical tools to be a great defender, and I'm thinking a full season in the Celtics' system will help him harness those gifts and potentially turn into a great wing defender (perfect for the LeBrons and Carmelos of the world). The Celtics will likely put a heavy emphasis on transition play this season, and Green could be a big part of getting the necessary stops and starting the fast break.
1dMatt Walks, ESPN.com
2dESPN Stats and Information Group
4dESPN Stats & Information