Who else is excited to watch, in what has become a yearly tradition, a random posterization from the wily veteran, Jeff Green? The enigmatic forward/center has returned to the Houston Rockets after a short stint with the team in the 2019-20 season. While it’s unclear how much he’ll factor into the Rockets lineup this season, it wouldn’t be a shocker if he turns out to get 15 - 20 minutes a night, even as he enters his 16th season.
Considering that Green entered the league via the 2007 draft, missed the entire 2011-12 season due to heart surgery and has bounced around through 11 organizations, it’s pretty remarkable — in a good way — that he has remained a viable option all these years later.
Think about it, he’s one of only five players remaining from that 2007 draft class. The others are Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Mike Conley, Green, and Thaddeus Young. Being that you would need a third hand to count the number of NBA jerseys Green has worn, you would think he’s just the default guess on Immaculate Grid when you’re drawing blanks.
However, it’s quite the contrary. This guy was providing the Denver Nuggets with 17 minutes per game during their championship run this most recent postseason! Somehow, he still has something left in the tank. It would be a mistake to underestimate what he can contribute to this young roster, not only on the court, but off of it.
Just consider the greatness that Green has been surrounded by throughout his playing days. It starts with the blossoming OKC squads, to the expiring Boston Celtics Big Three, to running with LeBron in Cleveland, and most recently backing up the inevitable Nikola Jokic. He might as well be Waldo.
Jeff Green says he sees parallels between the current #Rockets and the late 2000s Thunder, where he began his NBA career:— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) October 2, 2023
“You can see the hunger in the young guys, and how they go about their business. They’re tired of that narrative.”
How much Green challenges Jock Landale for the backup center minutes is still to be seen, but at the very least he gives Ime Udoka options. Regardless, the ultimate goal for that position is for Alperen Sengun to further develop into one of the best in the league, and that’s something Green has already started assisting with.
Jeff Green says Alperen Sengun has asked him questions about how Nikola Jokic prepares.— Kelly Iko (@KellyIko) October 2, 2023
“He sees the comparisons but he’s trying to better himself. He’s not trying to be Nikola. He sees Joker as a standard but he probably wants to be better.”
If I were to give my best-case scenario for how Green’s second tenure plays out, it’s that he provides spot contributions and continues to guide our much vaunted lottery picks, as he once was. The worst case scenario is that the team is still atrocious and players such as Uncle Jeff are moved to depth-needy contenders at the deadline.
But for now, Houston embraces the basketball enigma that is Jeff Green.