It's been a weird turn for Jeff Green. He was an All-American at Georgetown, the fifth pick in 2007 and seen as a future cornerstone for a bright and blossoming franchise.
But he never quite realized his potential. Or maybe it wasn't even that. Maybe he never quite figured out how or where to fit.
That's how he sees it, it appears. Green told the Boston Heraldthat he thinks Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook sort of overshadowed him and therefore didn't allow the world to see his full cupboard of talent. And even added an (expletive) for emphasis.
“Yeah, man, you know a lot of people don’t know what I can really do,” he said. “In Oklahoma, I was kind of overshadowed by Kevin (Durant) and the way Russell (Westbrook) picked up, but, excuse my language, I can really (expletive) play. I can really play this game, man.”
So let's evaluate these comments. Can Jeff Green really (expletive) play? If we're talking about professional basketball, then I think he might need to take a step back.
Look, Jeff Green's a really good basketball player. Versatile, skilled, athletic, smart -- he's got a ton of tools. He's just perpetually caught in between positions. So much that it might put his success and career in the NBA in jeopardy. It's one thing to be a really good player, but if you don't have a place on the floor and therefore a role, what value do you have to a team? You have to be able to fill a need and spot. You have to produce. And while that has everything to do with your ability to really (expletive) play, it also kind of has nothing to do with, if you know what I mean.
Green was clearly overshadowed in OKC because of Durant and Westbrook and I always thought that was one of his strongest qualities. He had no issue in playing his role and quietly doing his job. He never stepped out of character to try and gather a little attention and spotlight for himself. The way he handled himself and his business in Oklahoma City was admirable. And Jeff Green will forever be one of my favorite players ever because of it.
But he just didn't have the capabilities to do his job to the level the Thunder needed. He couldn't rebound as a 4. Couldn't defend that position. Couldn't stretch the floor with a consistent outside jumper. Never really took advantage of other power forwards with his athleticism. Despite possessing some solid post skill, he never used much of it. Green was always just kind of there. A night of 15 points, five rebounds and three assists was the usual for Uncle Jeff. Good, but not good in the right ways.
He's clearly frustrated with his lot right now because he didn't find himself in a role he could flourish in Boston. While he was out of position in OKC, he was very much in the right one (as much as he can be) with the Celtics, but was forced to try and milk everything he could out of 20 minutes a night behind Paul Pierce. That's difficult for anyone.
It's a contract year for Green as he's a restricted free agent and he's understandably upset with how last season went. He knows he can play. He's a really good basketball player. But he has yet to find that spot, that place he can succeed. And really, it's hard to say if he ever will.