Last Friday, I left you with a rather intense criticism of Jeff Green. But more than a mere opinion-based rant, the post detailed a few statistics which proved that, through 18 games, the Celtics had been a significantly better team with Green on the bench.
And then I wrapped up the post with this: "In conclusion, (Green's) been a mess. In every sense of the word. But thankfully, it's still early. Too early write him off, at least. And Green has a great opportunity to turn some heads this weekend with two huge games against a legitimate Atlantic Division rival."
Fast forward to this afternoon, and that's exactly what Green has done. In fact, forget turning heads, he has our heads spinning, and has left Boston feeling more optimistic about Green's potential than we've been at any point since the preseason.
In the two games against Philadelphia, Green posted 19 and 16 points, respectively. He's now scored at least 16 in four out his last five games. And it's not only that he's scoring, but also how he's doing it by running the floor with Rondo, attacking the rim and basically looking like a guy who's confident and ready contribute every time he takes the floor, regardless of the opponent.
And really, for Green, that's the next step. Doing it every time he takes the floor.
The truth is that this past weekend wasn't our first glimpse of the real Jeff Green (or the player who we hope is the real Jeff Green). There have been flashes over the last month, but it's been nothing more than that. And the bottom line is that as great as Green has looked over the past few games, he's still only at the baseline of what the Celtics need from him this year. His success against Philadelphia was only encouraging compared to his early struggles. In reality, this is what it should have been all along. And now that he's hopefully (and finally) up-to-speed, it's time for the next level.
I don't want to sound like I'm downplaying Green's breakthrough. I agree that we should take some time and appreciate how far he's come. But when you start the season six weeks late, there's not much time to sit back and smell the roses. It's about moving forward. Getting better. And not being satisfied with merely meeting expectations, but instead, surpassing them.
Now more than ever, there's reason to believe that Green can get there. But he's still got some work to do before those beliefs become reality.