Without ever admitting or realizing it, I would argue that we all value consistency in our day to day activities more than we think. Consistency makes us comfortable. We go to work at the same time each morning so we know what to expect with traffic, and get upset when construction or an accident messes that up. We have a regular order when we go to our favorite restaurants, but are disappointed when it doesn’t meet our expectations. If we really think about it, consistency is probably at the top of our wish lists on a day to day basis.
As I was researching this article, I came to this realization and finally understood why Jeff Green is the most frustrating part about watching the Boston Celtics.
I looked at 12 players comparable to Jeff Green, in an attempt to gain a better understanding of why Jeff Green is such a frustrating player. Between these 12 players and Green, I took into account their Win Shares, which is the estimated number of wins a player contributes to a team, their Player Efficiency Rating, and their salary for the 2014-2015 season.
I chose the players by looking at the small forwards that are right above and below Jeff Green in PER (Al-Farouq Aminu and Omri Casspi), the power forwards right above and below Green in PER (Channing Frye and Glen Davis), as well as the small forwards right above and below Green based on their salaries (Luol Deng and Thaddeus Young), and the power forwards right above and right below Green based on their salaries (Paul Millsap and Frye). I also looked at the other players that had the same WS as Green (3.3; Pablo Prigioni, J.J. Hickson, Ian Mahinmi, John Henson, and Jeremy Lamb).
Between these 13 players, Green was 9th in PER last season, only had a better WS than three players, and has the 3rd highest salary.
On top of that, I also took the players’ salaries and divided them by their WS, basically giving me how much a team is paying a player per win the player contributes. It should come as no surprise that Green is last on that list, with a whopping $2,787,878.79 per win.
This is one reason watching Green is so frustrating. He is overpaid and he underproduces.
Another reason he is so frustrating is because it is easy to see the greatness he can achieve. Looking at his scoring distribution last season, he had 14 games of scoring 0-9 points, 46 games of scoring 10-19 points, 18 games of scoring 20-29 points, and four games of scoring 30-39 points. Last season, he was just as likely to score in the twenties as he was in scoring in the single digits. The best example of this frustration is when he scored 39 points against the Pelicans one night, and then five against the Mavericks the next.
For the Celtics to have any chance of making the playoffs this season, or for them to get any sort of return on their investment in Green via a trade, Green needs to become more consistent.
To illustrate my point, take Thaddeus Young. Young is very close to Green in both WS and salary, and has a slightly better PER. The Sixers were basically paying Young per win as much as the Celtics paid Green. However, Young is much more consistent, and therefore much less frustrating. They are pretty equal as players, Young being a better rebounder and Green being better with assists, but Green is not talked about like Young is. Young was mentioned multiple times as a player that a contender could use as a final missing piece. It is also reported that the Cavaliers will be trading Anthony Bennett for Thaddeus Young later this month, in the deal to acquire LeBron James. Nobody was saying Green was the missing piece for a contender and there is no chance the Cavs would trade Bennett for Green.
It all comes down to consistency. If Green can step up, and not even step up, but just be consistent, the Celtics might already have the game changer they are searching for.