With All-Star ballots already out, Jeff Green is unlikely to garner many early votes. Eleven games into what many Celtics fans hoped would be his breakout season, Green has been mostly underwhelming in the role of Boston’s go-to guy.
Being underwhelmed means expectations were high to begin with, though, and that may be part of the problem. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge seems to think those external expectations may have been a too high, whereas the Celtics had a better idea of what Green would give them.
“Well, I don’t think Jeff will be a focal point of our team this year,” Ainge told the Boston Herald. “I don’t think we have a player who’s a focal point of our team, especially with [Rajon] Rondo out. I think that we have to do it collectively. If we expect Jeff to be the focal point and to turn into Kevin Durant or LeBron James or even Paul Pierce, I think that we’re putting unrealistic expectations on him.”
Of course, all the talk about Green emerging as that type of player for the Celtics isn’t just a media construct. Green himself fed that talk in the preseason by saying, “I’m a great player” who needs to assume a more prominent role as the Celtics’ leading scorer. His teammates have also talked about Green being a leader, but games like Saturday’s loss in Minnesota, when he shot 0-for-6 from the field and scored just two points on a pair of free throws, have been all to common.
But Green, his teammates and anyone else counting on All-Star caliber offensive production from Green might be expecting too much, according to Ainge.
“I think Jeff needs to become a better shooter — a more consistent shooter — to take on a role like that,” Ainge told the Herald. “I think [he] has shown signs of having the makeup to be a great offensive player, but not consistently, so hopefully he can get more consistent at that.”
Green is averaging 15.5 points on 43.4 percent shooting while grabbing 4.4 rebounds per game for the Celtics this season. He has two years remaining after this season on the four-year, $35 million contract he signed in the 2012 offseason.