Those are all things Rivers advised Green to do as a member of the Celtics from 2005 to 2007 — instructions to which Green, now 26, never listened.
Before Green’s new team took on the Celtics at the TD Garden on Friday, the now-sixth-year veteran admitted that Rivers was right all along. Informed of Green’s sentiments, Rivers had one request.
“Can he call my wife?” Rivers joked. “That would be my response to that.”
Following his breakout return to the NBA last season, when he averaged career highs of 12.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 31 games with the New Jersey Nets, Green has seen his production drop to 7.4 points and 2.7 boards per game with the Pacers. He is the Pacers’ leading bench scorer, though, and he has exhibited none of the immaturity that marked his tenure in Boston, according to Indiana coach Frank Vogel.
“He was so young,” Rivers said. “I don’t know if he wasn’t listening to me or anyone that that time. He had a lot going on. [Winning] the dunk contest might have been the worst thing that ever happened to him. It’s just hard for a young guy.”
Green and Rivers have talked, as have Rivers and Green’s last coach, Avery Johnson, Rivers’ good friend who was fired by the Nets last month. Rivers is aware of the player’s feelings and said Green has been through a lot.
“He’s been a high draft pick, he’s won a dunk contest, he’s been out of the league, he’s played in Russia, he’s been in the D-League and now he’s back in the league,” Rivers said. “That’s a lot at that age, when you think about it. That will probably do him well, having gone through all that.”