Thursday, March 13, 2014
C's need Green to surprise them
By Chris Forsberg
There are 17 games remaining in a season in which the Boston Celtics have little to play for beyond the future. With that in mind, Jeff Green needs to utilize each of those tilts to force himself outside of a comfort zone he has struggled to depart.
The numbers don't tell the whole story, but this statistic stands out: The Celtics' defensive rating is 24 points worse when Green is in the game.
Far too often, the focus with Green falls too heavily on his offensive output, which has benefited from him being a top scoring option playing heavy minutes for a transitioning team. In the 11 games since the All-Star break, Green has averaged 19.7 points per contest, which, if maintained for the season, would land him among the top 20 scorers in the league.
But Green is not affecting the game like most others on that same list.
Green needs to put his energy into being a more consistent defender, a more common distributor, and at least an occasional rebounder. Green must find ways for the Celtics to be more successful when he's on the court.
Because right now, that's not happening.
Make no mistake, very few Boston players, particularly the ones logging the sort of minutes that Green is, are putting up glossy numbers this season. But the splits on Green are striking.
In the 11 games since the break, the Celtics are minus-110 in plus/minus during Green's 407 minutes of floor time, and plus-41 in his 121 minutes on the bench. Boston's offensive rating is 5½ points better when Green is off the floor, and its defensive rating is a staggering 24 points worse when he's in the game.
Worried that trash time was skewing those numbers, we narrowed that look to the first half of those 11 games. Boston's net rating when Green is on the court was minus-18.6 (91.7 offensive; 110.3 defensive) and plus-13.6 when he was off the floor (108.4 offensive; 94.8 defensive).
Now, numbers don't tell the whole story. Kris Humphries also has some bad on/off splits in the post-All-Star sample, but the eye test tells you he's playing better recently.
Can the same be said for Green, who remains up and down with his production? When you separate the good from the bad, it's clear it has little to do with scoring output.