After three games, things arent so sweet in Celtics Nation. In fact, at this point its far more difficult to find reasons to be optimistic than it is to simply rattle off a laundry list of concerns.
The bench is a mess. The starters are inconsistent. Theres a lack of urgency, edge and overall chemistry that you dont expect from a Kevin Garnett-led team.
Of course, theres no reason to panic yet, or to believe that these issues wont eventually work themselves out. Truth is, most of the problems that Boston has encountered are on par with what youd expect from a team with so many new pieces. In a way, this is where 2008 spoiled us; the Cs made it looked so easy that season. But its not easy. Building a team is hard. It should be hard. Right now, the Celtics are finding out how hard it can be.
But while we fight the urge to overreact, theres one issue, above all else, that threatens to linger: Jeff Green.
We all wanted to give Green a pass for his no show against the Heat, and for the most part, we all did. Its his first game in over a year! He was playing in a crazy atmosphere! He was up against LeBron! We pulled out every excuse in the book and gave him every benefit of the doubt. But in the two games since, Greens done very little to make amends. He followed up his three pointthree rebound effort against Miami with an uninspired 11 points and one rebound against the Bucks and then 11 points and two rebounds against Washington. In the win over the Wizards, Green only played 16 minutes (a troubling sign in and of itself), and continued to prove himself as a total liability on defense.
With Green, as much as hell be judged on his numbers, its also a matter of emotions. This Celtics team with KG leading the charge has always carried themselves with a level of pride and energy that's supposed to instill fear in the opponent, and even more, manifest itself within the identity of a game-changing defense. But Green doesnt have that. He doesn't fit in. Hes more of the JD DrewAdrian Gonzalez brand of athlete. An even keeled guy who looks lazy and uninterested by nature, even if that's not the case. Can a guy learn how to act differently, or is that just who he is? And if so, how will he ever earn the respect that he needs from the fans and more importantly, inside that locker room?
Of course, like I said, it's still so early. We still want to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. Not only because of all he went through, but because of how important he is to the Celtics' success. Truth is, the moment we officially deem Jeff Green to be a bust is the moment we write off the Celtics chances. That's how essential he is.
But so far, he's been inconsequential. He's been a non-factor. He's averaged 22 minutes, 8.3 points and two rebounds a game. He's yet to pick up an assist! Meanwhile, Doc Rivers has been forced to ride Paul Pierce at an alarming pace the captain's averaging more than 34 minutes a game! That's not good for business. And so far, neither has Jeff Green.