Gerald Green's travels bring him back to Boston to provide some much needed depth on the bench
According to Sean Deveney:
Journeyman Gerald Green returns to the Celtics after playing for eight different teams in the last nine seasons after being drafted by Boston in 2005 at 18th overall. Green was a raw talent back then, who displayed freak-of-nature athleticism from the start and a respectable three point shot in his second season. While becoming a crowd favorite, he was ultimately a key piece in the trade that bought Kevin Garnett to Boston in 2007.
After fading out of the league in 2009 to play in Russia, Green resurfaced with the Nets in 2011, but really caught fire with the Suns in the 2013-14 campaign. Green played all 82 games that season for the first time in his career, 48 of which he started (also a career high), and scored 15.8 points per game on exactly 40% three point shooting (204 of 510). Phoenix was one of the feel-good stories of the NBA at the time as they posted a 48-34 record with relatively low expectations before coming apart at the seams over the next two seasons. (Yes, you can have too many starting point guards.)
I would expect Green to split minutes with Jaylen Brown early on as Brad Stevens works Brown into the rotation, and as Brown acclimates to the physicality of NBA games. Depending on how Brown develops, I could see Green falling towards the end of the rotation and taking up any minutes left behind by potential injuries to Brown or Crowder. Either way, Green brings some much needed scoring on the bench when looking for a hot hand, which evidently became something the team was lacking when coach Stevens turned to Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter in the playoffs to get something, anything, going on offense against Atlanta.
While Rozier may have earned himself some minutes in the rotation, I think reading between the lines of this deal would tell you that R.J. Hunter and James Young haven’t shown enough improvement to see serious minutes.
While Green’s numbers have regressed since his outstanding year in Phoenix, I would expect him to feel more comfortable in Boston than he was last year with Miami. While looking through Green’s game logs from last season, it appears that Miami gave up on him after one bad stretch, which must have influenced their decision to sign Joe Johnson.
Through Miami’s first 33 games last season, Green scored 11.9 points per game on 42% shooting and 35% from deep. He added 2.7 rebounds and 0.9 assists as well, but keep in mind his averages in those categories have always been low. At 27.3 minutes per game, Green was clearly an important player in Miami’s rotation.
Over the next 29 games Green scored seven points per game on 34.5% shooting and 25% from deep. His minutes per game had dropped to 22.5. Miami’s record was 15-14 over this stretch and Green logged three DNPs by the end of it, all of which came after the acquisition of Joe Johnson.
For the record, Johnson played well in his 24 regular season games with Miami, averaging 13.4 ppg, 3.6 assists, and 2.8 rebounds on a 51.8% clip from the field while shooting 41.7% on threes.
With Jaylen Brown and James Young being the only small forwards on the roster to back up Jae Crowder, Green can look forward to playing around 25 minutes like he’s used to without being overshadowed by another veteran – for now. Overall, I think this is a great signing as it provides depth exactly where the team needed it – at small forward – but doesn’t put the team in a position where they’re all-in on one player to lead the bench mob.
Here’s the obligatory hype video: