With a roster full of Hall-of-Fame bound talent around him, Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green was smart enough to know he couldn't come in and immediately look to take over.
But in a radio interview on Thursday, Green acknowledged that he should have looked to assert himself more.
"I should have been more aggressive when I look back on it now," Green told ESPN 980 in Washington, DC. "That's what they brought me in for."
On Feb. 24, the Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, to Oklahoma City for Green and Nenad Krstic.
The C's made the deal banking on Shaquille O'Neal being healthy enough to fill the void left by Perkins. But a series of injuries led to O'Neal seeing limited action in the regular season. He was an even bigger non-factor in the playoffs, logging just 12 minutes total. Last week, O'Neal announced his retirement after 19 NBA seasons.
However, the addition of Green was supposed to bolster a Celtics bench that could have used a versatile player to play both forward positions. This was particularly important at the small forward position. After Marquis Daniels' season-ending spinal cord injury, Boston had no true backup for Paul Pierce until they traded for Green.
While Green had his moments, the aggressiveness that he played with at Georgetown and later, Oklahoma City, was there only in short, inconsistent bursts.
"Being a young guy in this league," said Green, who averaged 9.8 points off the bench for the Celtics, "it's tough coming in where you got Kevin [Garnett] on one side, Paul [Pierce], Ray [Allen], [Rajon] Rondo now who's been with that team for a long time. It was tough for me to come in and be 'the man,' coming off the bench, it was tough. In my mind, I'm thinking, 'Those guys preach, sharing the ball, sharing the ball.' It was kind of, 'You gotta be aggressive . . .' but I didn't want to step on anybody's toes. Now I look back at it now, I should have taken it for a grain of salt and take my slice of the pie. I don't think I did that when I came into that situation."
Even though he only played in 26 regular-season games plus nine playoff games with the Celtics, Green made quite an impression on Garnett.
"Jeff is probably one of the most versatile guys I've been around," Garnett said this past season. "He does a lot of things that, he just makes it look simple. I can't put it into words right now. I'm glad he's an addition to our team."
A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at
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Tags: Boston Celtics
, Jeff Green