Jeff Green has come back from a dark place, battling through questions about his mortality, and now he has a new lease on life. He’s eager to make up for lost time, and it appears that head coach Doc Rivers is ready to put Green to work. We’re talking about solid minutes at two positions, depending on how Rivers can take advantage of match-ups, and that is clearly music to Green’s ears. Green has traveled the long road back, and he’s excited about his first training camp with the Boston Celtics. He knows that he has a lot to prove, which explains the other motivator; Green never really clicked in his first go with the C’s, finding himself unsure of how to fit into a team loaded with veteran stars.
What a difference a year makes.
Green is fully healthy, cleared to play, possessor of a new contract, and looked upon as a key cog in what the Celtics are trying to accomplish this season.
With Day 2 of training camp in the books, Green seems to be getting the hang of things. He seems more confident, more self-assured, than at any point with the team. He’s receiving strong encouragement from his teammates and coaching staff, and, ironically, the heart ailment that sidelined him last year just may be the thing that liberates him from all of the self-doubt. Green may now be able to just go out there and play the game of basketball, instead of taking the court and over-thinking.
And before any of us criticize Green if he encounters the occasional funk, trying walking a mile in his shoes before passing judgement. Green is a great kid. He had a stellar career at Georgetown, and he was part of the OKC Thunder’s core rotation prior to the trade. And now he’s on track with the Celtics, relaxed yet anxious to prove himself, and enjoying every minute of this training camp.
Rivers, for one, isn’t concerned. He knows what he has in Green. He understands that players this versatile are hard to come by, and that Green will be stronger than most small forwards and faster than most power forwards. That’s a luxury other teams simply don’t have.
And with Rivers being one of the games very best basketball minds, you can fully expect him to make good use of Green’s unique skill set this season.