Popular Ex-Celtics Wing Earning Plaudits for Chicago Bulls

Javonte Green, Boston Celtics

Getty Former Boston Celtics wing, Javonte Green.

Danny Ainge was a master at his job, continually finding ways to keep the Boston Celtics competitive while having the foresight to find the “right next move,” well, most of the time anyway. However, one of Ainge’s more underrated feats during his final stint as President of Basketball Operations was locating NBA talent in the netherworld of Europe’s basketball doldrums.

Both Daniel Theis and Javonte Green were players only the most hardcore of Euro League fans would recognize. Neither player had been anywhere near an NBA rumor mill, nor had they appeared on social media with highlight plays. Still, both Theis and Green are vital cogs in their respective team’s rotations, after moving on from the Celtics mid-way through last season.

Theis was unquestionably the more successful of the two during their time in Boston, yet, in recent weeks, we’re starting to see signs of what enticed Ainge to sign Green in the first place. We all knew that Green possessed incredible athleticism, and was treated to numerous spectacular dunks courtesy of fast-break opportunities, but that always seemed like the extent of his capabilities. Of course, Green also flashed some upside as a potential catch-and-shoot threat, but his opportunities from deep were limited due to the firepower at the Celtics disposal.

But now, on a bench unit devoid of any go-to scoring talent, Green is starting to earn recognition for his production with the Chicago Bulls.

Luck is When Opportunity Meets Preparation

Coming into the NBA as a rookie in your mid-20’s isn’t an easy task, doing so on a team with championship aspirations is being set up to fail, or so you would think. Yet, despite Green’s perceived roadblock to consistent minutes, he still found a way to participate in 73 regular-season games for the Celtics, with a single playoff appearance thrown in for good measure.

Including his 16 games for the Chicago Bulls last season, Basketball-Reference tracked Green as averaging 3.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game on 50.9% shooting from the field and 30.2% shooting from three. Yet, when the Chicago Bulls went all-in during the summer, signing Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan, they needed cost-controlled assets to help fill out their bench unit, and thus, re-signed Green to a veteran minimum contract.

This brings us to the current season, where Green has been a valuable contributor to start the season, primarily from the bench, but since Patrick Williams sustained a season-ending injury, Green has found some scope to operate in the team’s starting five. We even saw the former-Celtics start at power-forward in the Celtics collapse against the Bulls in early November.

In Green’s 10 games as a starter, his numbers are improved but still comparable at 5.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 0.4 assists on 51.2% shooting and 40% from three. According to Cleaning The Glass, Green’s success from deep, albeit on one attempt per game, is coming from the corners.

The Chicago Bulls are relying on their star-studded starting five to steer them through games, but having a consistent and bouncy presence off the bench is proving invaluable for when their primary offensive weapons take a breather.

Green Is Earning His Crust on Defense

Ignoring Green’s incredible leaping ability, and a perceived improvement from the corner three, it’s the defensive end where he’s earning his playing time.

While Green is unlikely to be challenging for a Defensive Player of The Year award any time soon, his activity and ball pressure has endeared Chicago fans to the journeyman wing. Factor in Green’s burst of pace and ability to generate fast break offense, and you can understand why his performances have Impressed so many.

Chicago’s bench unit lacks a certain je ne sais quoi due to its limited depth beyond Alex Caruso and Coby White, which has allowed Green to carve out a defined three-and-d role within the rotation, and it would seem he will be adding to his solitary playoff appearance before too long.

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