Jeff Green Is More Lamar Odom Than Paul Pierce

Photo by riebschlager from Flickr

That’s up to Doc (Rivers). I know they wanted me to be more aggressive, so that’s what I’ve been doing, is just working on my all-around game. Getting a little Paul Pierce in me. You know, taking a little characteristics from different players. Kobe, being one. Paul. Being with them for a couple of months now. Just a number of guys. LeBron. I’m just working on my game, trying to get better.

via NBA.com – NBPA in position to go on offensive at labor meeting

Jeff Green is one of those guys. The type of player with the size, length, speed, athleticism and paper-perfect skill-set who never puts it all together. Capable of scoring, shooting, defending, passing and rebounding, Green is a jack-of-all-trades type of guy, like a Lamar Odom or Josh Smith (but worse, of course).

One of the traits thats held him down thus far has been his passivity. At Georgetown he didn’t dominate offensively or defensively (the way he could have), sharing the spotlight with Roy Hibbert or Patrick Ewing Jr.. In Oklahoma City he flourished as the third wheel (despite never having a Harden-like effect), but eventually felt he outgrew the role (while OKC felt he didn’t fit the role), eventually being traded to Boston for Kendrick Perkins.

As a bench player in Boston, he was expected to switch from the 3 to the 4, guard the opposing team’s best player, score 12 or so points off the bench, and become a key contributor (possibly the 5th Celtic in crunch-time). This never occurred, unfortunately, and Green will head into his most important free agency as a 9.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 0.8 APG player (as well as a guy whose teams always did better when he was on the bench, according to five-man lineups statistics).

Of course, players need high aspirations. Dream big, the cliché goes. But there comes a time when you have to be a realist. Green will never posses the skill (or statistics) that make Pierce, Bryant or James the players they are. He’ll never be the best player on an NBA team. In fact, he’ll probably never be the second-best player on an NBA team. Maybe third-best. Which is why he should take a page out of the Lamar Odom-playbook.

As a sixth man for the Lakers, Odom comes in off the bench and immediately controls the second unit. Whether its scoring, bringing the ball up the floor, creating for others, rebounding or playing tough D, Odom does it all for LA, without doing much of anything (if that makes any sense; it did in my head). Instead of being something he’s not, Odom accepts his self-induced limitations (he’s just not the type of alpha dog player), and makes the best of it.

Sure, Green can take certain moves or attributes from the NBA’s better players, but it won’t serve him as he’ll never be the primary offensive option. What he can do, is improve all the facets of his game, change his mindset, make the most of his capabilities, and marry a Kardashian.

Seth Carstens