Green is Backing up His Summer Comments

ISTANBUL, Turkey – After Jeff Green’s contract with the Boston Celtics became official on August 22, one of the first public interviews he gave was with Celtics.com’s Molly McGrath. During that interview, he made it clear that he planned on becoming more aggressive player during the length of this new deal.

“I’ll still be the same player, but I think just my outlook on the time I have in this league has changed,” he said. “I think I have to be more assertive, more aggressive, in different areas. Not necessarily just scoring.

Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Kris Joseph

Jeff Green continues to work his way back from heart surgery in January.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

“I just have to change my outlook and my approach of the game, and that time that I had off and just seeing certain spots on the floor where I can help really helped my mindset.”

It would have been easy for Green to turn his back on those comments once the season rolled around five days ago. Everyone can talk the talk, but not everyone can walk the walk. Green seems to be able to do both, because he and his coach are seeing a different player out on the floor during the early portion of training camp.

Green and the Celtics have held five official practices this preseason, two of which have taken place in Istanbul, Turkey. The versatile forward spoke to the media on Wednesday, and it sounds as if he’s doing everything he can to follow through on his comments from the summer.

“I’m slowly picking up more reps at multiple positions, which allows me to do different things,” Green said after a second day of practice in Istanbul. “It’s coming along. I’m picking my spots and just trying to learn and see where I can be more effective.”

Effective is exactly what the Celtics want and need Green to be. The team plans on using him as a game-changer off of the bench who can play both small forward and power forward. That’s not an easy role to fit into, particularly when you’ve primarily been an undersized power forward for the majority of your career.

However, there is plenty of faith within Boston’s front office that Green will fill that role perfectly. Danny Ainge signed him to a new deal to play this exact role. Ainge and Doc Rivers believe that Green is overly equipped to do so, and they were given even more assurance for that belief during today’s practice.

“Today, he seamlessly went from 3 to 4,” said Rivers. “It was easy for him. It wasn’t a forced issue. He looks great.”

Those are impressive words for a guy who has had only five official practices since his aortic aneurysm was repaired back in January. Green has had only nine months to recover from that dangerous procedure and is getting closer to full strength each and every day. The point is, Rivers thinks No. 8 looks great, but according to Green himself, he’s not even at full strength yet.

“I’m almost 90 percent now,” Green said on Wednesday. “I still have some work to do, but it’s coming along.”

If it keeps coming along at this rate, the Celtics have a lot to look forward to. Green explained on Wednesday that in order to reach the level of aggressiveness that he plans to reach, he must to be in tip-top shape. At this point, he just isn’t there yet.

That will come with time, and we’ll all be able to see the new facets of his game that will come along with that aggressiveness. When asked what those facets would be, Green quickly responded with a laundry list of items.

“Easy baskets. Hard cuts. Getting my guys open. Running the floor. Being aggressive on defense,” he said. “It’s not necessarily just being aggressive on offense.”

This Green sounds a lot like the one who spoke to McGrath over the summer, doesn't he? The only difference is that now he is able to put his money where his mouth is.

Green finally has the opportunity to be on the floor and prove that he can become the player that Ainge and Rivers believed they were signing this summer. If Wednesday’s practice is any proof, he’s well on his way to reaching that level.