While Danny Ainge‘s move got plenty of scrutiny that year, as the Celtics again fell short of their championship ambitions, Boston is now focused on its new set of guys and how Green will contribute going forward, not how they do without Perkins.
But outside the team, there’s still reason for some people to scratch their heads at the move and wonder what could have been if the trade didn’t go down. While the Celtics’ chemistry immediately after the deal was a major factor, the sheer difference in the type of contributions Boston got from Perkins compared to what Green now provides is still worth wondering about.
Perkins played in Boston for seven-plus seasons. While he averaged 10.1 points and 7.6 rebounds a game the season before he was dealt, his more-valued contributions have always been those that don’t show up on the stat sheets. An excellent defender who lifts the entire team, Perkins was an integral part of the Celtics’ fierce, defense-first philosophy that led to Boston’s most recent title.
Green, on the other hand, is a scorer — but he hasn’t had much of a chance to show that in his days in green. Struck by a heart malady, he missed all of last season after open-heart surgery and has had trouble meshing with the team since his return. A double-digit scorer in his three-plus seasons with Oklahoma City, Green is averaging just 8.6 points this year as he regains his aggressiveness — although the 17 points he dumped on his former team Friday night was just what the Celtics have been looking for from the talented swingman since they acquired him and re-signed him this year to a new deal.
The Celtics got the better end of the bargain Friday night, beating Oklahoma City 108-100 — and Green certainly showed the Thunder what he can do with his new club. But what about the trade? Are the Celtics in good shape, or would they be better off with Perkins?