Boston Celtics

Green ready to prove his game is priceless

609010.jpg

Green ready to prove his game is priceless

WALTHAM He wears No. 8, but the only numbers associated with Jeff Green as of late are four and 36 million.
Green signed a four-year, 36-million deal with the Celtics prior to this season, a move that raised plenty of eyebrows around these parts.
Why the skepticism? Well, Green didn't show much in his 26 games with the Celtics. He was looked at as being soft, and immediately known as "the player the Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins for". Perk's toughness was well documented, and Green was no Perk. The Celtics fell apart shortly after, which certainly didn't help matters.
But that was then, and this is now. Now, there's more hope for Green, who stood out above every other Celtics player during preseason. Green is moving past the "then."
"You have to," Green said. "I mean, I came in a situation where the team was already solid. They had been together for five years. So it was tough to come in and try to pick my spot where I'm supposed to be and know my role. It takes time to do that when you're coming into an organization like this with players like Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo. So it took time and I had to sit out a year. It allowed me to sit back and watch and pinpoint where I could be with this team. Now I'm able to play again and I'm using things that I saw and putting them together on the floor."
The NBA seems to be getting away from the traditional positions its used to trotting out. Heck, the All-Star ballot just eliminated the "center" position. Teams are going smaller. They're putting in players who are interchangeable.
Green is that player, and the Celtics are better off now than with Perkins because of it.
"There's a lot of teams playing small ball right now," Green said. "You got to be able to match up with them if you want to be able to win. We have the ability to do that and like I said we can match up with any team, if that's what they want to do we'll be prepared."
When the Celtics went all the way in 2007, they found success with James Posey in with the starters. Last season, the Heat went with their best five players as well, throwing positions out the window.
With that mentality, it's looking like Green will wind up as one of Boston's most-used players. Before he was traded to the Celtics, he was logging 37 minutes a game. He should be back up in the 30-minute range again this season, switching between the two forward positions, as Doc Rivers has been experimenting with all camp.
It also helps that he's now earned the trust in his coach and teammates.
"He's been great. Getting better every day," Rivers said. "Our guys' confidence in him skyrocketed from the beginning. They didn't know, like you guys, I didn't know when you asked me what to expect. So it's been good."
It's true, we didn't know. We went with what we saw, and clearly, we didn't see enough. The only person who did know was Green himself.
"I mean, I've been working hard, that's all I can say," Green said. "I put in the work, and the results came. I was ready to play. I was prepared, I prepare myself I had eight months to do that. This is the first time you guys have really seen me play, so I think that's why everybody is like, 'he's doing this, he's doing that'. But I'm just going out there and playing hard."
It certainly helps that he's on the court with a group of players that are just as talented in their own ways as he is. But when asked why he stuck around last year and really wanted to play for Boston, he told everybody to turn around and look at a player taking shots on the court.
"That guy, right there. Rajon. I wanted to play with him," Green said. "He's the best point guard in the league. I mean, who doesn't want to play with a good point guard? Then you got guys in the locker room like KG (Kevin Garnett), Paul Pierce, with the addition of JT (Jason Terry) and Brandon Bass coming back. And you got Courtney Lee."
The respect from Rondo is mutual, who should have plenty of fun running the floor with Green for the foreseeable future.
"Jeff's always had talent. He's always had a lot of expectations, high expectations, and it's no different this year for us," Rondo said. "He's been playing very good for us, he's buying into the system, buying into his role and he's working hard every day."
He's working hard for himself and for his teammates. He's working hard to show he's not the player we once thought he was. But most of all, he's working hard with the ultimate goal in mind.
"We have a hell of a team, man," Green said. "I mean who doesn't want to be a part of something special like this? We have a great opportunity to win the championship. I want to win, and this is a great chance for me to do that."

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

Fireworks have been ablaze in the NBA all summer long, with the latest electrifying salvo being tossed by the Boston Celtics in trading for Kyrie Irving from Cleveland in exchange for a package of playerscentered around Isaiah Thomas and a first-round pick centered around Isaiah Thomas. Without question the Celtics were among the biggest winners this offseason as they went about transforming their roster significantly despite having the best record in the East while advancing to the conference finals. But good wasn’t good enough, a similar mantra by a number of teams in the NBA. We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin!

BOSTON – Expectations for the Celtics this season are the highest they've been in the Brad Stevens Era.
 
The past couple of years, Stevens’ crew was seen as a scrappy bunch.
 
That all changed Tuesday night when the Celtics pulled off a blockbuster trade in acquiring Kyrie Irving from Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

MORE ON THE KYRIE IRVING BLOCKBUSTER:

 
Acquiring the four-time All-Star would have made this offseason one of the best ever for the Celtics. But prior to landing the 25-year-old point guard, Boston was able to sign Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $127.8 million contract after he spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Utah Jazz.
 
The new guys join a Celtics team that returns just four starters, a group led by Al Horford, who stands as the lone returning starter from last season’s squad which finished with the best record in the East (53-29) while advancing to the Eastern Conference finals before losing in five games to Cleveland.
 
Adding a pair of All-Stars to the mix will certainly benefit the Celtics for this upcoming season. But for their continued growth, they will also need to get more from their youngsters.
 
Second-year forward Jaylen Brown had a strong offseason and is poised to build off of a rookie season in which he was named to the All-Rookie second team. Boston will also look to get quality play from rookie Jayson Tatum who was selected by Boston with the third overall pick in the NBA draft.  
 
For Boston, the biggest concern has to be chemistry.
 
There’s no question there’s more talent on this roster from top to bottom.
 
But with this being the first go-around for most of the players, it remains to be seen just how long it will take for all of the core players to get on the same page and find success.
 
That challenge won’t be easy, especially with the Celtics opening with seven of their first 11 games on the road.

Even with all the new faces and a challenging schedule out the gates, that won’t diminish the heightened level of expectations for a team that will surely have a bull’s-eye on its back all season for a journey that should result in yet another deep playoff run.
 
Key free agent/trade additions: Kyrie Irving (from Cleveland); Gordon Hayward (from Utah); Aron Baynes (from Detroit); Marcus Morris (from Detroit).
 
Key losses:
Avery Bradley (traded to Detroit); Amir Johnson (Philadelphia); Jonas Jerebko (Utah).
 
Rookies of note:
Jayson Tatum; Semi Ojeleye.
 
Expectations:
60-22 (First in the Atlantic Division, first in the East)

CSNNE SCHEDULE

BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?

0:41 - What grade would you give the Celtics for their trade for Kyrie Irving? Michael Holley, Kayce Smith, Tom Curran, break it down and give their grades.

4:32 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakley discuss how Kyrie Irving will fit in the Celtics system and how Brad Stevens will handle the roster with new egos.

8:50 - We take a look back at the Pierce and Garnett trade to the Nets that landed the Celtics multiple 1st round picks. Are you pleased with how the Celtics used those picks? Is Danny Ainge a Hall of Fame executive? Michael Holley, A. Sherrod Blakely, and Tom Giles discuss.

14:30 - Our BST crew talk about the Red Sox getting the win over the Indians, Eduardo Nunez being hit intentionally by Corey Kluber, and if Chris Sale will retaliate.