The past two games are perfect examples. Pierce was a combined 12-for-31 shooting, including a loss at Houston, and Garnett was not active offensively because of fatigue. He attempted just 25 shots in the two games, scoring 14 and 13 points.
This was a perfect opportunity for Jeff Green and Courtney Lee to respond with good offensive games, but neither did. Lee started both and scored 19 total points in 57 minutes. Green scored 19 total points in 56 minutes.
Team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge signed the duo to four-year contracts for the purpose of them eventually taking over for Pierce and Garnett, and providing relief when the duo is unable to carry the scoring load.
The Celtics got considerably younger in the offseason, but they have yet to determine whether it’s better. Lee and Green are simply blending into their complementary roles, but they need to seize the opportunity for more offensive chances.
I am going to challenge the line about them being signed to replace Garnett and Pierce eventually. That’s too over-simplified because they both have contracts that stretch beyond KG and Pierce. That might be the idea for Green, but I’m not sure Lee was ever going to be a featured scorer like that.
There are certain aspects of this piece, which is a scathing assessment of Lee and Green… Lee especially. And both deserve their share of the blame for the slow start. Lee is supposed to be shooting better than 28.6% from 3. His true shooting percentage is at a career low .513. His turnover rate is almost twice what it was last year. His offensive rating… which always covered between 106-108 stands at 92 right now.
Green has been inconsistent and too passive, too often. He did, however, have a nice stretch recently where he showed signs of a turnaround… only to take steps back in Texas.
I don’t want to overstate the importance of Avery Bradley’s return or drive the idea into the ground, but it does, at the very least, change Courtney Lee’s role. And if Bradley’s return has a positive impact on that, then it will be doubly great to have him back. And if the Celtics determine Lee is broken, then he becomes a solid trade chip.
I’d like to think Lee is good enough to work through whatever he’s going through. He’s still a good defensive player, and he still hustles. I love his attitude when it comes to basketball. Hell, I’ll just sum it up by saying I love everything ab0ut the guy except when he’s on the floor and the Celtics have possession.
That’s pretty important.
Green… that’s a more difficult story. When you hear him say he “lost everything” after his heart surgery and he’s built himself back into at least this level of NBA player… that’s impressive. He’s been more aggressive lately than he has in the past, so you’d think that he might be getting it. With Green, it’s just a matter of time, and whether he can mentally find it every night.
And finally, a word for Doc, who MIGHT be doing this rest thing the wrong way. Guys are getting days off from practice and they’re expected to turn it on for games. The rest in between games is meant to get the guys the best of both worlds. But Doc said after San Antonio that the guys are fatigued.
Part of that was the double OT game and the travel. But I have to wonder if there’s some cosmic connection between Doc’s comments about his team being out of shape, and the fact that they came in San Antonio… where the team was fined $250,000 for not playing too many stars in a nationally televised game against the Heat.
Should Doc be running these guys in practice, and then give KG and Pierce alternating games off from time to time? Should Doc be getting these guys into prime cardiovascular condition in practices, then giving some guys a day off from the actual games to preserve their joints?
I know how daunting the idea of a game without KG might seem, but it might help to throw these guys into the deep end without the Pierce/KG lifeline every once in a while. Maybe guys like Green and Lee will realize how important they are to the team’s success and they can channel that back into the games where the C’s are at full strength.
I’m not asking for a major overhaul of what the C’s are doing yet. Despite the assertion that the season isn’t young, I refuse to panic about anything that’s happening in December. You’ll notice… I’m staying quiet about the Lakers right now too. I understand that the struggles now impact seeding later… but I’m not going to crow or freak out about anything at the moment. It’s too soon.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: Back up engine for this JET