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addPhoto("https://i.cdn.turner.com/drp/nba/celtics/sites/default/files/green-media-day-2014-300x350.jpg", "Jeff Green put on nearly 10 pounds of muscle during the offseason.", "Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images", "photo-1");
WALTHAM, Mass. – Jeff Green was Boston’s top player a season ago, but that won’t be good enough for him in 2014-15. He’s upping the ante and setting his bar at an impressively high level.
“Individually, I would like to make the All-Star team,” Green told Celtics.com earlier this week. “I think that’s one of my big goals.”
Achieving that goal would be quite an accomplishment for the seventh-year forward. After all, he was only the fifth-leading vote getter among Eastern Conference small forwards a season ago. But Green believes he’s put in the necessary work to take his game to an All-Star level.
“I’ve been working out in the gym a lot,” a visibly bulked up Green said. “I’ve put on some weight.”
Nearly 10 pounds, according to strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo. And on top of the added weight, Green has also refined his game on the court.
“There’s so much that I have to have my eye on, but I try to conquer everything,” he said, alluding to his versatile floor game. “I think I did a good job of that this summer. So I’ve just got to transfer it into the season.”
Initial feedback is that the hard work is paying off. Brad Stevens gave Green rave reviews after the team’s first practice of the season on Tuesday. Stevens, who pointed out that Green is in “great shape,” has seen an improved version of No. 8 early on this season.
“You can kind of tell by the pace with which he’s worked, even when he was working individuals before today, he’s got a different step about him than he did last year in that early-season work at least,” Stevens said.
Improved pace should help Green become a more aggressive and efficient player at the offensive end, where he averaged a team-best 16.9 points per game last season. That end of the floor, however, is not the only one that will be critical to Green’s All-Star bid.
While Green has turned himself into a strong defender, he isn’t feared by opponents. He wants to change that. Luckily for him, he has the perfect mentor to help him reach that goal.
“I’ve been talking to Gerald (Wallace),” Green said, referring to his small forward partner who has been an All-Star, an All-Defensive First Team selection, and who led the NBA in steals in 2006. “We’ve been talking and he’s going to turn me into a defensive-minded guy first, because that’s when I can get on the break and do what I do in transition.”
We all know what Green can do in the open court. He’s an elite athlete and is a terror in transition. He has the potential to be one of the best in the game when it comes to transition scoring.
Fulfilling that potential will go a long way toward turning Green from a good player into a great player – an All-Star player. That’s what he wants to become, and he believes he’s put in the necessary work to get there.