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Jeff Green will start when KG returns

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) April 4, 2013 Celtics News, Jeff Green 20 Comments on Jeff Green will start when KG returns

There is a stark difference between Jeff Green’s numbers as a starter and as a reserve.

In 11 games as a starter this year, Green is averaging 22.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists while shooting 56.3% from the floor and 54.1% from 3.

In 64 games as a reserve this year, Green is averaging 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while shooting 44.3% from the floor and 33.1% from 3.

He’s averaging 38 minutes a game as a starter versus about 26 as a reserve, so the extra rebounds and assists are really a result of being on the floor more.  But he shoots and scores better as a starter.  So Doc’s making the switch.

So what will the starting lineup be when Kevin Garnett returns (which might be Sunday, according to Doc)?  Considering Doc’s been going big lately, it’s possible he could start Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, Green, Garnett and Brandon Bass.  It’s also possible Doc could start Green at the 4, sit Bass, and start Courtney Lee.  I’m betting we’ll see both of those lineups, depending on the matchup with the other team.

For example, against the Miami Heat, Doc could have Bradley and Lee guarding Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade, with Green on LeBron, Garnett on Bosh, and Pierce on Udonis Haslem.  And think about the matchup problem that creates for Miami.  As Chuck asked when I brought up this scenario: “who guards Pierce for Miami?”

The real concern with this new lineup is with Brandon Bass, who is starting to find a little groove.  He’s averaging 13.4 points while shooting 54.3%… well above his season averages of 8.3 points on 47.3% shooting.  And as Chuck noted in the Morning Dump, Bass’ defense has been huge lately.

So what happens to him if he hits the bench again?  We’re finally starting to see some of the Brandon Bass we saw last season.  It’d be a shame for that to suddenly go away just weeks from the playoffs.

Green has certainly earned a starting spot.  Bass is finally making his case to remain a starter.  And Courtney Lee has proven that he and Bradley can make one hell of a defensive pairing in the backcourt.  This is going to leave Doc with some interesting decisions.

One other note to come out of practice.  Paul Pierce said if there was a regular season game today, he wouldn’t play because of his sore right foot.   He is expected to play tomorrow, though.  Just something to keep an eye on moving forward.

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  • eddysamson

    During JG’s slow start I was trying to stay positive thinking he’d play a lot better if he were starting and look at that, he is! Anyone else see a starting JG as a top 10 scorer in the league next season? If not top 10, 15 for sure.

    • Yeah, I do. It’s amazing watching him turn into the JG the organization was betting on: multidimensional scorer, athletic, comfortable shooting from anywhere. It’s really a joy watching him play right now. Sky is the limit.

    • Chulinho

      We would all love to see that! But, there are other things that probably keep that from happening, most notably the return of Rondo and Sully.

      • eddysamson

        I think that depends on where Pierce and KG are at next season. Without them, Jeff is a #1 option and should do fine with Rondo+Sully out there. We’ll see how things go with him starting now. But you’re right it does depend on how well he can mesh with Rondo (I dont see Sully being an issue)

        • LA Flake

          well, both sully & rondo are coming off major surgeries so i’m not sure if everything will be fine w/o 5 & 34. and it’s easier to contain guys like jeff because he’s not an iso player and doesn’t have a bag full of tricks like pp does. and remember: pp & kg make their teammates better. they make them play harder. and they never ever quit. we’re going to need their leadership next year.

        • Chulinho

          Yeah, you’re right. It sucks to realize now how deep and talented this team really is when completely healthy, especially going into the playoffs. I still prefer Barbosa over Crawford, but I like the additions of Terrence Williams and Shavlik Randolph going forward.

  • Chulinho

    I like Green as a starter, but if that does happen I’d be concerned about bench production because of Jason Terry’s play as of late. Even if Bass is moved to the bench I doubt he could fill the void left by Green in that role.

  • LA Flake

    WTF? Why are some of my comments being purged???

    • some words get caught in a filter… don’t worry… I go in and approve comments so if they aren’t there right away, I’ll catch them

    • Bleedgreen!

      Try putting one space in the middle of your curse words and that should solve your problem

  • LA Flake

    Who guards Pierce for Miami? Why Ray Allen of course!

    • Chulinho

      Erik Spoelstra would be more effective defending Pierce than Ray.

  • Thank goodness for Jeff. Without Rondo’s dazzling passes, I didn’t know what you guys would find for Green Light Madness. I expect to see a lot of Jeff Green highlights this off season.

  • I don’t really get the whole “who’s going to guard Pierce” thing. We know who is going to guard Pierce. Lebron James will guard him. He’s guarded him for the last 9 years. Who else would he guard? Jeff Green? I highly doubt the Heat are going to put their best defender of Jeff Green because of one good game he had against them in the regular season. They’d be pretty idiotic and deserve to lose if they were that rash. Now, if Green starts abusing them in a playoff series, then of course they need to make a change.

    But, for example: Mario Chalmers had what, 26 points that game when the Heat beat the Celtics. Should the Celtics put their best defender (Avery Bradley) on him in the post-season and turn Wade loose, when Bradley does such a terrific job on Wade? No, I don’t think so. Same logic.

    • so who guards Jeff Green?

      • Exactly. That’s the question. Not who will guard pierce though. Haha John I’m a Celtics fan, I’m not arguing that this doesn’t create a possible matchup problem for the Heat! I’m just suggesting that it’d probably be unlikely that they would move their best defender to Jeff Green and allow a what, 13 time all star to go off?

        The better question is what you just asked. Who will guard Jeff Green? I think they will be forced to start Battier and go very small to match Boston. They certainly can’t put Haslem on him. Bosh almost definitely can’t stay with him (though he is long which is why I say “almost”). The only guy who matches up height and quickness wise with Green is Rashard Lewis, and I’m not sure they trust him.

        • Now, if green starts abusing them and going for 20-30 in the first couple games, THEN yes, then may be forced to move lebron to him and take the gamble with battier on pierce.

          I just didnt agree that the initial question is who guards pierce. That’s all. Pierce is still the celtics best scorer and thus demands their best defender. I think we all agree on that.

  • KGino

    Adding JG to the starting lineup adds a completely different dynamic to the offense… Another threat to break out and have a huge game (like Bass never would). If we can maintain a top 5 defense with JG in for Bass, I think this team will surprise a lot of people in the playoffs. And if we still had Rondo AB PP JG and KG as a starting 5, I’d put my money on us over the heat.

  • Vince Lencioni

    Maybe we should consider playing Pierce at the 2 more often and letting Bass and Green Start at 3 and 4 when Garnett comes back. Right now, I am a little more concerned about Bradley so-so play going into the playoffs.

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