The Celtics Will Regret Trading for Jeff Green
By Guest Blogger Geoff Nelowet:
Prior to the trade deadline, the Boston Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder primarily for Jeff Green. Today, the Celtics are in a bit of a downward spiral with huge question marks at the center position. Without delving into statistics, it’s safe to say that the Celtics are short on confidence, and without a healthy Shaq at center, they have a glaring hole.
Many have seen this trade as an enigma – why disassemble arguably the best roster in the NBA? Well, the answer is clear: to preserve the future of the organization. Danny Ainge has taken a lot of heat for this trade, and rightfully so, but I think he had the correct intentions. His logic was that with a healthy Shaq, the Celtics were the best in the NBA, which rendered Perkins expendable – despite being a key component of their 2008 and 2010 championship finals teams. Relying on a healthy Shaq was clearly a huge risk that is still a very questionable decision, but, in my opinion, the biggest mistake in this trade is not the intentions of Ainge, but it’s that Ainge targeted Jeff Green – who is in my opinion a highly overrated player.
Make no mistake about it, Danny Ainge was in a very tough spot prior to the deadline. The Celtics are old, and when Pierce, Allen and Garnett choose to retire, that roster would be decimated in its previous state. Ainge thought he could make a move that kept them in championship contended while solidified their future. Ainge’s biggest mistake was that he thought Jeff Green would be the answer. Green had the luxury of playing big minutes in Oklahoma City as the third scoring option among literally three viable starting players prior to the last two seasons. Green has averaged roughly 15 points and 5 rebounds for most of his career, but don’t let these number deceive you because Green is a below average player, and let me ground this claim in a statistic: Jeff Green has never had a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) that scores over 13.9. 15 is the average PER in the NBA, ergo Jeff Green is a below average offensive player (as PER only takes offense into account), and moreover, Green has never had the reputation of a lockdown defender.
Unfortunately for Ainge, I think he struck out on this deal. The Celtics are not looking like the team they were in the first half of the season, and Jeff Green will not be the answer for them. If Ainge had targeted a player that could be a serious difference-maker in the future, I wouldn’t have a problem with this trade, but I think players like Jeff Green come along more frequently than Ainge imagines. Of course, if the Celtics make a run to the finals like they did last season, the trade is validated, but at this point it’s hard to see that happening.