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The Weekend Greenie Bag - Is It Time To Start Jaylen Brown?

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Hello everybody and welcome to the latest edition of the Weekend Greenie Bag. Five games into the 2016-17 there are a ton of things you are all curious about, and that is why you should thank the lord every day that this blog exists. If over the last week you’ve noticed something about the Celts but are too embarrassed to tell anyone fear not. Just tell me. It’s only going up on the internet for thousands, no, millions of people to see. Tweet it with #greeniebag or email greenieceltsbag@gmail.com. It’s quick, pain free, and a stranger on the internet will love you forever.

Now, to your questions

This is certainly a valid question, and also requires a little bit of a history lesson. For the sake of cherry picking, lets start after the Pierce injury in 2007 which helped the Cs, and focus on a post Big 3 signing era. In 2008 the Celtics were healthy and the best team in the NBA, winning 66 games and an NBA title. Just one year later, the first instance of the injury bug really surfaced. In game 56 of that season, while the Celtics again were clicking on all cylinders sprinting towards what most likely was back to back titles, this happened

Garnett wouldn’t play again for the entire regular season, or any of the playoffs, and to rub it in the Celts lost Game 7 at home to the fucking Magic.

The next year, with KG back and healthy, the Celtics again were a dominant team in the NBA. As a healthy team they cruised all the way back to the Finals for a rematch against the Lakers, and again, for the second straight year fell in a Game 7. Now the group that had never lost a playoff series while healthy had to deal with this

This knee injury cost the Celts that title, you cannot convince me otherwise. In 2011, Rajon Rondo played just 68 games, and they were relying on a 200 year old Shaq, who guess what, ended up getting hurt with Achilles and calf issues. In 2012 we found out that Jeff Green would have to miss the entire year for heart surgery. In 2013 after a promising start, rookie Jared Sullinger had to have season ending back surgery on Feb 1st. Rajon Rondo also blew out his ACL and still played against the Hawks

In 2014, not only did Kelly Olynyk sprain his ankle and miss 18 games, but they were also really bad until Isaiah showed up to save the day. In 2015 things didn’t get much better. Jae Crowder had injury issues, Olynyk had injury issues, Avery got hurt in the first round, ultimately leading to their demise.

Which leaves us at this point, 5 games into the 2016 season, and after such a promising start, the injury bug as reared its ugly head yet again with another Jae Crowder ankle injury. I am convinced we don’t see him until Thanksgiving. Olynyk just now got cleared to play in Maine. So to answer your question, I’d like to think the Celtics can have a year like GS had where all their players stayed healthy, but it hasn’t happened in nearly a decade. They aren’t the only team in the league with injury issues, but I can agree it is frustrating as all hell.

Joo I’m going to switch this up a little bit and give what I think are the most commonly used phrases that are typed into Brad Stevens operating system.

1. Can only control what we can control

2. Need to focus on getting better

3. jump shots

Email:

Hey Greenie,

First off, love all the hard work you do. Your writing is honestly the main reason why I keep coming back to this site. Anyway, onto my question:

With the news of Ray Allen retiring, Ainge was asked whether the Celtics would be retiring his number 20 jersey to which he was noncommittal. In my opinion, Pierce’s #34 will find its’ rightful place up there as soon as possible (next season), KG will see his #21 go up in MIN, but Ray Allen has been too much of a journeyman and spurned the city that allowed him to win his first ring to be considered. This got me thinking, is there anyone on today’s roster that you could conceivably see getting that honor? Obviously at this exact moment no one is even close but I was trying to think about it with a more long term view and was slightly stumped. This question clearly requires quite a bit of extrapolation but if we are to let our little green minds run for a little while I could see a couple of guys possibly entering the conversation.

IT: I think he has the best shot at it, as he is pretty clearly our best player and therefor a significant draw for other players looking for a new home. I think if he keeps up his all-star level play, stays here for another full contract, and gets the Celtics past the Cavs (or whoever becomes the next East superpower) then he should have a shot at getting that #4 up there.

Avery Bradley: He is the longest tenured member of the Celtics but I don’t think he has done enough in his time here, other than being a true defensive stud, to warrant this type of discussion partly because of the next guy:

Marcus Smart: This one is interesting. As of right now I don’t think he is even close, but if he can keep the defensive intensity up, while rounding into an actual offensive player, he has a shot at becoming this team’s best player down the road. I don’t think it is likely, but I also don’t think it is out of the question.

Those are just 3 guys I felt like would get the conversation started but I honestly don’t know enough about this team to give a thorough analysis-which is what brought me here. So I pose it to you: does anyone on this roster have a chance? Jaylen if he plays 15 years here? What if LeBron falls off in the next couple of years, the super team in San Francisco disbands and the Celtics win a championship or two? Are any of the guys that we are watching now potential Celtics legends? Keep up the good work and come to Denver in March to watch the game vs the Nuggets 

Sincerely Jeff

With Ray Allen retiring, the discussion on who deserves to get their number retired has been a hot issue. Pierce of course, so the debate really comes down to KG vs Ray. Personally I am really conflicted. I don’t think either KG or Ray really spent enough time as a Celtic to join the likes of Bird, Russell, McHale, etc. Then I think of everything they did for the team, and the franchise, and that is where I give a slight edge to KG. He did more than produce on the court, he changed the ENTIRE CULTURE the minute he stepped into the building, a culture we still see active today. Ray didn’t really. Both were extremely instrumental to that ’08 title, I want to make sure people don’t discredit Ray’s performance, especially Game 4 when he played a full 48 minutes.

I also think it’s important to realize how the organization viewed both KG and Ray. For years they were putting Ray on the block, and I wouldn’t say they treated him like a player they expected to be in the rafters one day. It also probably doesn’t help his chances that he turned down more money to go play in MIA, but at that point the relationship was a disaster, and the Celtics went with Rondo’s preference to play with Avery.

The only chance I see them both getting up there is simply because the Celtics have about 50 retired numbers all ready, I’m not sure anyone would even notice.

As to the second part of your question, it’s almost impossible to predict. The first thing that has to happen is the Celtics need to win at least one title just to start the conversation, and that player needs to be a huge factor. With the way the NBA is now, guys don’t spend 15 years on a single team anymore, so it’s hard to determine how long a player has to be on a team to even be considered. For example. Avery has been on the Celtics for 6 years now, and he is nowhere close to getting his number retired. Isaiah has been an interesting case, but for me he would need to keep up this same production for about 10 more years and win a couple titles, that’s hard to do. Sure maybe if Jaylen plays his entire career as a Celtic and turns into an All NBA/All Star player and the Celtics win a title, but that is crazy to even type out after only 5 games in his NBA career.

Lastly though, remember there was a time where not all of Boston thought Paul Pierce would have his number in the rafters, and now look at how that turned out.

Email:

Greenie,

Love the Greenie Bag, you’re my go to for everything Celtics on the web.  Your game reviews are superior to even what grey balls Thornton used to give us for the Pats games.  Keep them up.

Question about the second team offense; it seems to me like the issues we’re seeing with the bench (while plentiful) revolve around struggles from the second unit to score.  More specifically, with Olynyk, defenses don’t have to respect anyone else on that bench’s ability to shoot or score, so they can play off and close the lane for penetration.  I’m also not seeing enough ball movement on the second unit, or high screens.  Two part question:  1.  Do you think that they should be running more of the second unit offense through Gerald Green given his ability to create, or is that mitigated by the fact that without a shooter on the floor defenses can collapse the lane and prevent a slasher from attacking the basket?  And 2.  Do you agree that the return of Kelly Olynyk is as important to the second team offense and the return of Marcus Smart was to the second team defense?

Thanks Greenie. – Adam

Well thank you Adam that is very kind of you to say. I’m with you that there is some reason to be a little concerned with what we’ve seen offensively from the second unit. A couple times already this seasons the starters have had to come back into a game they already won, simply because the second unit couldn’t hold up.

To answer your first question, I’ not sure running the offense through Gerald Green is the answer to all their problems. Lets take a look at what this lineup will most likely be if everyone is healthy

Smart/Rozier/Jaylen/Olynyk/Zeller

I believe the problem we’ve seen so far is really that this lineup hasn’t had a chance to play together yet this year. Sure he might have his limitations, but the fact that Kelly Olynyk is a 40% three point shooter does WONDERS to open up space. Last year’s playoff series is a prime example. Without players to help space the floor, everyone just sags in and as a result the Celts offense usually struggles.

The good news is, Rozier has shown his ability to make an open three, you throw in Olynyk and sprinkle in a little Jaylen outside shooting every once in a while and I truly think the offense for this second unit drastically improves.

Email

Greenie

Okay totally judging on last nights game. Jaylen looks capable as a starter. I’m

Thinking Jae is more valuable off of the bench as a legit 6th man. Obviously Jae could still play the crunch time minutes. I could be drinking too much green koolaid here but it’s just my thought!

Keep fighting the good fight

Nick

This is my favorite thing that happens during a Celtics season. Marcus Smart has a good game “he should start over Isaiah!”, Avery Bradley plays well “I really think Avery should move to the second unit, they need offense, you can just start Smart and not lose any defense”, and not the latest “Should Jaylen start over Jae Crowder?”

We in this city LOVE to overreact, and forget to take a step back and understand what we are actually saying. I am elated with how Jaylen has started his rookie season, his performance against CLE was legit porn, but we all need to pump the breaks. A healthy Jae Crowder will be, and should be, the starting SF for this team. Don’t let the recency bias cloud your judgement, Jae has been really really good this year.

The other part that makes this a funny discussion, is we just got done talking about how much the second unit offense was struggling, so if Jaylen is really going to be this good offensively, the second unit NEEDS him way more than the starters do. I am firm on the fact that until Jae gets back Jaylen 100% needs to start, so I guess that will give us a little sample size moving forward

Email

What’s up Greenie,

Gotta be happy with last night in Cleveland. A loss is a loss but losing by 6 to the defending champs without Jae, Horford, and Olynyk is definitely promising. Jaylen played his ass off, and as someone who wasn’t thrilled with that selection I think I’ve officially changed my mind. Trader (Drafter?) Danny at it again. 

Realistically, what do you think we’ll get out of Jaylen this year? Is this a legit ROY candidate we’re looking at here? I know it’s early, but what I’ve seen from him (and from the other rookies) definitely makes it seem promising so far. 

Stay golden, love the Celts blogs – Sean 

I dunno if “happy” is the right word Sean, but I wasn’t what you would call “mad” either. I’ve long been of the position that the situation with Jaylen compared to other rookies is really unique. Unlike those players who are going to play heavy minutes and be allowed to take a shit ton of shots, Jaylen is being introduced to the league on a team that actually matters, and as a result his opportunities will be much different. Heading into the year I always expected him to be at around the 20mpg mark, and even that was a little high before Jae got hurt. My expectations were for him to play good defense and score in transition, that’s really it. Lets call that averages of like 9/4/3 with a couple steals and a block or something.

So far this year he is at 19.8 minutes with 9/2/1 averages, which is exactly where I thought he’d be. Where he has blown even me away is how good his shooting as been on the NBA level. Going 52% from the field and 44% from three is something not one person on the planet could have predicted. You’re right though, when looking around at the other rookies this season, who else really has jumped out? Embiid is the favorite and has been incredible, Kris Dunn has been good in MIN but they can’t win a game, and guys like Hield and Murray haven’t shot the ball as advertised. Then there’s Jaylen, who started the year at 35/1 odds to win the ROY, and now that Jae is going to miss multiple weeks, Jaylen should get the same sort of starters minutes his fellow rookies are getting.

If he thrives and continues to have performances like he did against CLE and the Celtics win a lot of these games Jae misses, he absolutely should be in the conversation for ROY. But its been fives games and it is a VERY long season, so if I had to rank him I’d say at the moment he’s in second, but this will without a doubt be a fluid thing that changes throughout the year.

Oh and Sean, I also saw your second email about that article saying Isaiah was 13th best PG in the league behind guys like Ricky Rubio. My thoughts on this are pretty simple, and no one other than Isaiah himself said it best

“Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t”.

And that will do it for this week’s Greenie Bag. Before we say our goodbyes I want to introduce a new weekly Greenie Bag franchise, yes that’s right, a franchise within a franchise, and that is the Weekly Greenie Awards

CwHdqD-VYAANnsD

This weeks MVP: Isaiah Thomas

His 26.5/8 this week, including 30 on Kyrie make this the easiest choice in the history of choices

Play of the week: Jaylen Brown

This week’s LVP: James Young

3 minutes played in 2 games and he didn’t take a single shot smh

This week’s Most Improved Player: Terry Rozier

In his 14 minutes per game this week Terry shot 54% from the field and 50% from three.

Have a great weekend everyone