Green needs more from Green

927803.jpg

Green needs more from Green

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.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Finding minutes for everyone will again be a challenge for Celtics

Finding minutes for everyone will again be a challenge for Celtics

BOSTON – If there’s one thing Brad Stevens has been consistent about since coming to Boston, it's that players aren’t given minutes – they earn them.
 
But there have been times when players have seemingly done enough to warrant more time on the court, but matchups for a particular game or Stevens’ gut/instincts/spidey sense - whatever you want to call it – tell him to go in a different direction.

MORE

Getting minutes on the court will always be a battle, but the fight for floor time will be unlike anything we’ve seen in the Brad Stevens Era.
 
And while on the surface that sounds like a good thing, right?
 
It will be, depending on whether the individuals who constitute this roster come in with a similar mindset compared to previous Stevens-coached teams with players who know that their role, much like their minutes, will fluctuate as the season progresses.
 
Aron Baynes is one of those players whose minutes may depend heavily on the opponent.
 
At 6-foot-10, 260 pounds, Baynes is a physical player who you know is on the floor to provide defense and rebounding – two things the Celtics wanted to add in the offseason in their frontcourt.
 
But if teams go uber-small, as they tend to do more of these days, it’ll cut back on the opportunities Baynes gets to play, which is why he opted out of his final year in Detroit to become a free agent and ultimately signed with the Celtics for about $2 million less.
 
“I definitely think being in the NBA, everybody always wants to play more,” Baynes said. “I think if you don’t want to play more, well then you’re not in the right spot.  So yeah, excited for the opportunity and hopefully I can go out there and earn some minutes and yeah, we’ll see if what I bring is what Brad wants. So yeah, I’m hoping it is and looking forward to it.”
 
Similar challenges will arise for just about every Celtic, knowing only three players – Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and newcomer Gordon Hayward – are pretty much locked into playing major minutes.
 
The Celtics have two open starting jobs after shooting guard Avery Bradley was traded to Detroit and forward/center Amir Johnson signed a one-year, $11 million deal with Philadelphia.
 
Simple right?
 
Nope.
 
Not even close.
 
The Celtics could slide Thomas over to the off-guard position and start Marcus Smart (who plays starter-like minutes anyway coming off the bench) at the point, or potentially have Terry Rozier or newcomer Shane Larkin whose agent told CSNNE.com that the Celtics had signed him to a one-year deal, join Thomas in the starting backcourt.
 
Boston’s options in the frontcourt seem endless when you consider they can go big with Baynes or rookie Ante Zizic at center to pair with Horford, or they can go down the big man spectrum with a first five that up front may include Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown or Marcus Morris.

And we're not even talking about the bench, which will give Stevens more options and flexibility - in terms of how he wants to play stylistically - than he has ever had before in Boston.
 
“They’re going to be interesting to watch this season,” an Eastern Conference scout texted CSNNE.com. “We know they have some really good players, but how will it all come together? Forget Cleveland. Chemistry is going to be their biggest challenger this season because they have so many different players with different skills that they can turn to.”

Isaiah Thomas diligently studying film at midnight on Friday

boston-celtics-isaiah-thomas-50817.jpg

Isaiah Thomas diligently studying film at midnight on Friday

Isaiah Thomas appears to be channeling the New England Patriots' "No days off" slogan.

The Boston Celtics guard spent Friday night, in the middle of the NBA offseason, studying film. He was up past midnight to take a look at Boston Celtics' game tape, according to ESPN.com's Chris Foresberg, who posted a picture on Twitter of Thomas hard at work.

Thomas finished the 2016-17 season with 28.9 points per game, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 33.8 minutes. He helped the Celtics earn the NBA Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed, and contributed a handful of clutch performances as Boston charged to the Eastern Conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the series, 4-1.