When Jeff Green arrived in Boston two years ago, the goal was to simply fit in.
It didn't work.
Today, fitting in is no longer an option. Green has the ability to impact games in ways that no backup has been capable of during Doc Rivers' reign.
And with a clean bill of health and a renewed vigor to be aggressive, Green is on track to giving the C's exactly what they are counting on this season.
During Boston's two preseason games in Europe, Green was the most talked-about player (Jared Sullinger was a close second) because of his strong play.
"Jeff is important to us. I try to stress that to him everyday," said C's Rajon Rondo. "I don't want to put too much pressure on him, but he's going to be a key for us this year. He can play the 3 (small forward), he can play the 4 (power forward). And defensively, he has to
be our star. Jeff is capable of checking the 1 (point guard) through the 4. We ask a lot of Jeff. It's a team effort. it's not just going to be Jeff. But he's going to play a key role in our success."
He was especially impressive in leading Boston's second unit, with much of the offense being run through him.
"It feels good. Gotta be a leader, gotta be able to play both ends, lead by example," Green said. "And just learn from the guys ahead of me. There are hall of famers ahead of me, KG (Kevin Garnett), Paul (Pierce), future hall of famer Rondo, the Jet (Jason Terry) ... I have
a lot of people to look up to as far as leadership."
More than anything else, Rivers believes that Green is simply more acclimated to his new teammates, the city of Boston and maybe most important, his role.
"I just think he is a comfortable player," Rivers said. "When he plays with starters, he will be just as effective because he will be the third or fourth guy that they are worried about defensively. When he's with the second unit, he may be the first guy but he's still being
And an effective Green makes the Celtics a tough team to beat.
"It's a big year as a team," Green said. "We want to win a championship. But it's an important year for all of us to come out and showcase what Celtics basketball is all about."