Jeff Green has never lacked for confidence.
He has lacked for defense. He has lacked consistency. He has been a guy who shows flashes of brilliance but now both in Boston and Oklahoma City the team outscores opponents faster when he is siting on the bench. They were better when he was benched.
But Green’s confidence remains unshaken. He tells the Boston Herald that he was overshadowed by some guys named Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in OKC but if he comes back to the Celtics next year — he’s a restricted free agent — he’s going to show you what you’ve been missing.
“Yeah, man, you know a lot of people don’t know what I can really do,” he said. “In Oklahoma, I was kind of overshadowed by Kevin (Durant) and the way Russell (Westbrook) picked up, but, excuse my language, I can really (expletive) play. I can really play this game, man.”
That belief was supported by discussions he had following the season.
“I had some good meetings with (coach) Doc (Rivers) before the lockout, and I’ve been talking to P (Paul Pierce) and Ray (Allen),” Green said. “Next year they’re really going to allow me to play, and I think that’s what I need. I need to go out there and just play. Sometimes I think too much, but I just need to go out there and play the game. I’ve got great confidence in myself, but things were a little difficult last year.”
No doubt the pressure that came with being part of the Kendrick Perkins trade made it tough on the court and in the locker room in Boston. Thing is, if you want to get mentioned with Durant and Westbrook and Pierce then you have to thrive in pressure situations. It’s not a matter of Green just playing his game, it’s him being consistent on both ends and not making mental mistakes.
Boston wants Green back at the qualifying offer ($5.9 million) and it’s hard to imagine, after this lockout where owners complained about bad contracts, anyone is going to offer him more. (And while Boston fans can get frustrated with Green, there are not better replacements in this free agent market.) He’s going to get a shot to live up to the hype. If he does he’ll get paid, if not he fades like last season.
Either way, he’ll be confident.