Not many folks were fans of the trade the Boston Celtics made at the Trade Deadline, trading Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green, Nenad Kristic and a 2012 first-round pick.
Perkins was seen as one of the defensive leaders on Boston, along with fellow starter Kevin Garnett. With Perkins in the lineup, the Celtics were undefeated in a playoff series, as Doc Rivers harped on several times after last season and earlier this year.
Perkins was best friends with several players on the team; two guys who reportedly have taken the trade hard are Rajon Rondo and Glen Davis. The 6-foot-10 center gave the Celtics a swagger about them -- as tough as Garnett acts, he wouldn't be talking so much smack if it weren't for Perkins backing him up on a nightly basis.
Now he has Kristic backing him up. Yeah, that doesn't say much.
Many analysts didn't like the trade for Boston, sighting those reasons as to why the Celtics look much more vulnerable come playoff time. But did they know something we -- to this point -- didn't?
The Celtics are a mediocre 11-8 since the trade, and have had a tough time finding places to use the key acquisition -- Jeff Green. They've had no problem putting Kristic in as the starting center as Shaquille O'Neal is out and his return is still in question.
Rivers admitted recently that the Celtics haven't found the distinct role for Green yet, but added what makes him so dangerous: He does so many different things.
"I'm still learning how best to use him," Rivers said recently to ESPN Boston's Peter May. "He can do so many different things in so many different ways."
One of those ways is defensively. And that takes us back to the Bulls.
The Bulls are coming off a 97-85 home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, who used athleticism on the wings to disrupt the Bulls offense, and found ways to get into transition, scoring 18 points off 17 Bulls turnovers.
The Celtics' Trade Deadline acquisition of Green can enable Boston to do the same in a potential Eastern Conference playoff matchup.
Green isn't the leap-out-of-the-gym guys you think about in terms of dunks, but he's very long and has above average athleticism to match his 6-foot-9 frame.
The fact of the matter is, the Celtics could have figured out the Bulls' weakness weeks ago, which prompted the trade. Sure, they might not have been able to sign Perkins at season's end any ways, but the trade gave the Celtics the option of going small -- something Rivers alluded to right after the trade.
"This gives us the ability to do what we did the year we
won," Rivers said to Rich Levine of NECN.com. "and that is we
can go small with Green at four and Kevin at five, and then Paul and
Ray. And it spreads the floor. We've been trying to get that lineup
since Posey left. I can't tell you how many times we did that in the
playoffs. Every fourth quarter. We've haven't been able to duplicate
that, and in some ways that's hurt Rondo."
As Rivers said, the Green trade will now enable the Celtics to feature a starting lineup consisting of Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Green and Kevin Garnett, and the way the Bulls had troubles with the athletic, quick lineup of the 76ers, Boston could pose a much greater problem for the Bulls.
Green isn't known as a great defender, but neither was Thaddeus Young, and the Bulls made Young look like Ron Artest last night with his ability to frustrate the Bulls, taking them out of their offensive rhythm.
It's been proven that a small, athletic lineup can become problematic for the Bulls, and although Garnett, Pierce and Allen are on their way down in the latter department, Green's acquisition now gives them a player to throw at Derrick Rose in pick-and-rolls.
Green wouldn't only be able to impact on defense -- as seen by Young's 21-point night against the Bulls on Monday, an athletic and agile forward can give all the Bulls' big-men trouble.
Young was scoring on Taj Gibson, Carlos Boozer and even the Bulls' best interior defender in Joakim Noah.
The Perkins-for-Green trade was looking like a foolish one for the Celtics, but after seeing the 76ers expose the Bulls by going with a small, athletic lineup, the Celtics are now enabled to do the same with the one and only, Jeff Green.