There are a couple of points I would like to hit on before I dive into this glorious trade you see above. Over the past few days many Celtics’ bloggers have written various articles saying that Jeff Green needs to be inserted into the starting lineup over Paul Pierce. That it would allow Green to run with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley while allowing Pierce to a primary scorer off the pine and blah, blah, blah. Look, I try to think outside of the box as often as possible to come up with unorthodox solutions to common problems. Bringing Pierce off the bench is one thing. But in favor of Jeff Green? That’s as wrong as wrong can be. You want Green to play more minutes with Rondo and Bradley? Here’s a wild solution: MAKE GREEN THE SIXTH MAN! Or better yet, cut him out of the picture all together.
My dream job is to be the Boston Celtics General Manager. My dream is in fact Bryan Doherty’s worst nightmare. And it is because of the NBA Trade Machine offered by espn.com that I am able to see what is feasible and what is down right lunacy. Since January 15, a brand new world of scenarios opened up because of contracts which were signed in the offseason. We’re over a week removed from that date and nothing has happened in Boston other than a slew of losses and a mess of unnecessary controversy. While Pierce’s name has been thrown around in trade discussions, the man who is currently 14th in the Association in scoring is certainly not the problem. Courtney Lee, since his role has been reduced, isn’t exactly the problem either – but he has value on the open market. Green, for all intensive purposes, has been a problem.
The reason Danny Ainge traded Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green is because he saw an athletic wing who could run up and down the court with Rondo and give the Celtics a replacement for Paul Pierce down the road. While the reasoning was as good as any to make the move, it simply has not worked. Jeff Green is not a starting caliber player in the NBA. He is not a guy who can create his own jump shot nor is he consistent enough to be considered a spot up shooter. He is aggressive only in spurts and his lack of consistency on the defensive end is a major concern heading forward. While I agreed that Green was a priority in the offseason for Ainge to bring him back, it was more to prove his worth for a team he had disappointed during his first half season in Boston. I can not and will not blame Green for his heart condition last season. That was not his fault. But I can blame him for his production on the court this season.
Which is why I’ve been constantly trying to trade him, even though I literally have zero power in doing such a thing. Josh Smith has long been one of my favorite players in the NBA. His freakish athletic abilities sold me from the first time I saw him play a professional game. I’ve carried on and on about his long term relationship with high school teammate Rajon Rondo, so I’ll save my breath on that point in this piece. Just know that Rondo basically set up Smoov with the love of his life and Rondo is the only reason Smoov is married right now. That’s how close these two are on and off the court.
I’ll admit, Smoov has shown a tendancy to settle for bad jumpers, shoot outside of his range, and isn’t as stout as a defender out on an island as he is as a help defender. I’ll take those problems ALL DAY LONG over Jeff Green. Every three I’ve ever seen Green heave up I’ve had the same thought, “Clank.” When he does hit the occassional trey, I am always astonished. Without fail. Does that make it excuseable for Smoov to come to Boston and start chucking up threes? Of course not. My stance has been firm on Smoov’s inability to decipher a quality look from a forced shot: he plays for the Hawks.
Now, Atlanta has always and will always be an attrocious professional sports city. The absolute bottom of the barrel in terms of loyalty from the fans combined with quality of the teams. Even when the Braves were rolling out five Hall of Famers on a nightly basis in the ’90s the fans were mediocre at best. So why would any Hawk go out and play sound, focused basketball on a nightly basis when the arena is 10% filled? They wouldn’t. Yet Smoov still goes out there and gets his 16+ points, eight rebounds, and two blocks a night.
Including last night’s double-overtime win against the Celtics in front of a small gathering of about 17 Hawks’ fans.. While the second half belonged to Kyle Korver’s three point shooting prowess, Smoov took over in overtime and finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and two blocked shots – including a block on Paul Pierce’s attempted game winner at the end of regulation. How did Green fair? 17 points (all in the first half) with six rebounds. Hopefully, Green’s first half showcase was enough to woo Danny Ferry. If not… then this deal is never going to happen.
In the offseason, current Memphis Grizzlies’ VP of Basketball Operations John Hollinger called Green’s contract, “The worst of the offseason.” That’s never a good sign. So if Atlanta needs more (other than however many first round picks they want) then I’d be willing to include Jared Sullinger into this deal. While I love Sullinger’s motor and knowledge of the game, he is an expendable piece. Where do I draw the line? Avery Bradley. The plan isn’t to build around Rajon Rondo or Avery Bradley, the plan is to build around the both of them. So if Ainge is listening to me out there, which he damn should be, this is the move to persue. Go out and get Josh Smith. Just save me a seat on the Duck Boats when you do.