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Jeff Green’s Shooting Slump in Preseason Means He Needs to Start Filling the Box Score

October 13th, 2013 at 9:51 PM
By Sean Melia

A lot of the summer of 2013 was spent planting hope in the Boston Celtics garden. The growth would take time. The garden was not going to get completely pulled apart, there were some seeds that would remain. Jeff Green was one of those seeds. Celtics fan watched him grow quickly during the second half of last season. He was dominant at times, making his strange lulls in productivity even more maddening when he disappeared from games. 

Chris Forsberg broke down Jeff Green's preseason struggles in a piece on Sunday. Check it out here.

One thing Forsberg does not look at is how Green handles pressure. Part of Green's maturation over the past two seasons was his ability to be more aggressive on the floor. People thought that he was holding himself back because he deferred to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The pressure of playing with those guys seemed to force Green to play it safe. 

He was a different player when Pierce and Garnett were on the bench and he was free to play and he did not have to defer. However, he was also not a leader on those teams. He was allowed to just play and let the other players lead, along with Doc Rivers.

Now, Green has pressure on his shoulders again. The pressure might be different, but it is still pressure. It might be a new type of pressure that he needs to get used to. How long will that take? That's unclear. 

Brad Stevens does not see Jeff Green's slow start as an issue. He said, "I think one of the thing that, any time you've got a guy that is struggling at all, it's easy to say that there's an individual and changing the individual is going to make a different. I don't think that's the case. It's too early a sampple size to figure out if that's legitimate."

Green's tough stretch has been marked by bad shooting and passive play. He's only scoring 7.8 points per game while shooting on 28% (11-40). Shooting slumps happen, everybody goes through them. However, the fact that Green is not attacking the rim to get some points should be alarming (he's only taken 5 free throws). When leaders lose their scoring touch, they find other ways to affect the game. A star will fill the box score, collecting assists, rebounds, steals, making sure his opponent is not scoring either.

This preseason Green's +/- is -20, and that includes a +24 against the Knicks on Saturday night. So in his first three games, which were closely contested, Jeff Green's +/- was -44.

Over the course of the year Green will have stretches where he is brilliant. However, he might also have weeks that fans wonder what is going on with Green. The hope is that those bad stretches get shorter and shorter because Green finds ways to affect the game without scoring 15-20 points. Hitting th glass, playing great defense, and setting up teammates are the best ways for Green to prove that he should be in Boston for the long haul. 

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Tags: Basketball, Boston, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Chris Forsberg, Jeff Green, NBA, Paul Pierce

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