Pop quiz, hot shots. Which one of the following three statements was actually spoken by Danny Ainge during his appearance on this afternoon’s Felger and Mazz radio program.
1. “Shavlik Randolph is our best interior defender”
2. “Jordan Crawford is our best passer.”
3. “Chris Wilcox is our best mid-range shooter.”
Click here for the answer
Yup. That’s right.
Jordan “Cousy” Crawford.
And I’m really at a loss for words.
So, let’s touch on one other aspect of this afternoon’s interview. Specifically, Ainge’s answer to the question: Do you expect you expect Jeff Green to be the next Paul Pierce?
"I don't think it's fair to expect from Jeff what we got from Paul, because Paul is arguably the best offensive player we've ever had,” Ainge said. “So I think it's unfair to put the expectations of being Paul Pierce on him.”
"But as an heir apparent, as our starting small forward at some point when Paul no longer plays, I think that's a fair expectation."
And I agree. I’d say it’s very fair to expect a player who earns $9M a year to someday crack the starting line-up. Frankly, I think Green should be there now: Bradley, Lee, Pierce, Green and KG. That’s my starting five.
I’ll let you know if hear back from Doc.
In the meantime, I want to take a real quick and slightly deeper look at the Paul Pierce/Jeff Green comparison. And not to suggest that Green will ever be in that league, because I agree with Danny. It’s a ridiculous expectation.
As I type, Green is wrapping up his fifth NBA season, and to this point has scored 5135 points, grabbed 1982 rebounds, dished out 601 assists, picked up 328 steals and 247 blocks. The most points he’s ever averaged in one season is 16.5. Most rebounds? 6.7.
Not bad, but here’s Paul.
Through his first five seasons — the first of which was shortened by a lockout — Pierce scored 8481 points, grabbed 2371 rebounds, dished out 1199 assists, picked up 665 steals and 329 blocks. He’d already averaged more than 25 points a game in three straight seasons. He was already a two-time All Star.
Remember how great Pierce was in the 2002 Playoffs? When he averaged 24 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists a game in leading the C’s to within two games of the NBA Finals? Pierce was 24 years old. Two years younger than Green is now.
We’re talking about different worlds here.
And not because Green isn’t any good, but because Pierce is literally one of the best players in NBA history. We’ll be lucky if we ever see another Celtic who belongs in the same sentence as Pierce.
Anyway, that’s pretty much what Ainge is saying, and I just wanted to pile on. Because honestly, the sooner we kill off those comparisons, the better it will be for Green.