Breaking Down Green's Offensive Growth
BOSTON – Jeff Green’s 43-point outburst against the Miami Heat on March 18 took many by surprise. Fast-forward to two and a half weeks later, and such performances are now becoming the expectation.
That date has essentially served as Green’s coming out party. He has played in 10 games since that game and averaged nearly 22.0 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per game while racking up astounding shooting percentages.
Green’s confidence is soaring, and his teammates' confidence in him is following suit. He is becoming a go-to offensive option, as evidenced by his 14.5 field goal attempts per game during that 10-game stretch. To give you an idea of how high that number is, Paul Pierce, the Celtics’ leading scorer for the past 12-plus years, hasn’t attempted more than 14.6 field goal attempts per game since the 2006-07 season.
Green is becoming a star in front of our own eyes. His ascent up the scoring ranks began in late January but he has moved at an even steeper incline since March 18. The reason for his incredible offensive growth is simple: improved shooting, from just about everywhere on the floor.
“Early in his career, even most of this year, basically it was either the corners or to the basket,” Doc Rivers said of his emerging star after Green hung up 34 points on the Pistons Wednesday night. “And now he’s starting to make those shots on the elbows, which have been very good for us.”
Rivers is right on the money with that statement, but it doesn’t stop there. As we detail in the three categories below, Green’s shooting has improved from just about everywhere on the court since Jan. 26.
The Elbow Area
What you see above is a shot chart split of Green’s overall shooting this season. On the left is his shooting before Jan. 26, and on the right is his shooting since Jan. 26. We are going to look at shots from the elbow area and extended elbow area, which are numbered from 1 to 4.
As you can see in the pre-Jan. 26 box on the left, Green excelled in two of these areas: straight away (area 3) and from the left extended elbow (area 2). He made eight of his 16 shots from these areas. However, when the other two locations are included, Green’s overall shooting percentage in these areas dips to just 36.6 percent. Green attempted only 46 shots in these quadrants during the 43 games of his season that fell before Jan. 26.
His 32 games since that date have seen a dramatic spike in both shooting frequency and shooting efficiency from these areas.
Green has attempted 48 shots from these four quadrants since Jan. 26. He has improved his shooting percentage in areas 1, 2 and 4 during this time frame. Overall, Green has shot 41.7 percent from the field in these areas. Compared to his first 43 games, that is a 5.6 percent spike in his shooting percentage from these locations. And remember, this spike has taken place while he’s attempting these shots at a much higher rate.
In the shot chart splits above, you see Green’s 3-point shooting from before Jan. 26 (left) and after Jan. 26 (right). The splits are astonishing.
Green has been successful at shooting corner 3s throughout his career, so we will concentrate on quadrants 1, 2 and 3 of these charts. These are the areas that the NBA calls “above-the-break 3s.”
As you can see in the pre-Jan. 26 shot chart, Green was terrible at these shots. Not only was he terrible at these shots; he also knew that he was terrible at these shots. Green hit only 14.3 percent of these attempts during his first 43 games. That lack of success led to Green limiting himself to only 21 attempts in those locations.
Green has experienced a rebirth in these areas, so to speak, since Jan. 26. He has fired up 39 above-the-break 3s in his past 32 games and hit 35.9 percent of them. Green’s shooting from quadrants 1, at 55.6 percent, and quadrant 2, at 40 percent, are ridiculously efficient... as in, Ray Allen-type efficient.
Since March 18
All of the shot charts we broke down above were from either before Jan. 26 or after Jan. 26. That was the date in which Green truly began his ascent as a legitimate, consistent scorer on the Celtics. March 18, however, is the date in which he really took off.
The chart shown to the right, which details Green’s shooting since March 18, is absolutely incredible. It shows that Green is shooting 50 percent or better in 10 of the 13 quadrants in which he has attempted a field goal. Again: 10-of-13! Green has been scorching hot from 3-point range, having made 52.9 percent of his 33 attempts from long distance. That includes a ridiculous 6-of-7 performance from beyond the arc on the left wing.
What may be even more important to Green’s recent surge is the elbow area that Rivers mentioned Wednesday night. He is in the green (pun intended) in all four of those quadrants, having made nine of his 15 attempts (50.0 percent) in those locations over the last 10 games. Most importantly, he has found his rhythm in the right elbow area, which had previously been his only kryptonite.
Green may not be Superman, but all of these numbers tell us that his offensive prowess should no longer come as a surprise. The cat came out of the bag on Jan. 26 and it began a full-fledged sprint on March 18.