Celtics

Robb: Javonte Green is building a case for a regular role

(Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Brad Stevens has a good track record of finding help in unlikely places over his NBA career. He’s unafraid of going deep into his bench for a spark (with last year serving as an exception) and he’s unafraid of riding a hot hand when he finds one. Those types of instincts from Stevens helped the likes of Shane Larkin, Jonas Jerebko and other fringe NBA players serve a meaningful purpose in helping this C’s team win a game here or there over the past six seasons.

With the bench offense struggling over the first three weeks of the 2019-20 regular season, Stevens has already done his fair share of mixing and matching, trying to find the right pieces to balance out an inexperienced group. Grant Williams has stepped up as a lead big off the bench with Enes Kanter out, but no one else has really been a consistent piece beyond Marcus Smart. After giving ample opportunity to everyone else on the bench, Stevens turned to the 15th man on the roster in Javonte Green earlier this week, giving him meaningful minutes for the first time in Cleveland.

Green played an uneventful five minutes against the Cavs on Tuesday night but found his number called again on Thursday with Smart saddled with foul trouble in the third quarter. With Green getting the nod ahead of a struggling Carsen Edwards (0 points in 12 minutes) and Semi Ojeleye, the 26-year-old made the most of his extended chance, scoring 12 points (5/9 FG) in 12 minutes to help put the Hornets away in a blowout win.

A few of those points came during garbage time but just like his preseason performance against Charlotte (7/7 FG), those points aren’t entirely inconsequential. In fact, Green showed himself to be a useful piece that might be a smart fit for the bench puzzle Stevens is trying to put together.

Green’s value was probably best demonstrated in the play in which he scored the first basket of his NBA career. He finds himself at the top of the key with the ball and just five seconds remaining on the shot clock after Kemba Walker kicks out the ball to him. This situation would normally be a bad spot for just about anyone on the C’s bench short of Smart and Edwards. Heck, it’s even been a bad spot for Edwards over the first seven games this year.

Boston’s bench is full of gritty players but not a lot of shot creators with Brad Stevens committing to