Jeff Green has become what the Memphis Grizzlies envisioned, a dependable and athletic wing player who at times can emerge as a primary offensive threat. He is part of a team chasing a title and has blended into its workmanlike mentality.
After the Grizzlies’ practice Tuesday at Emerson College in advance of Wednesday night’s game vs. the Celtics at TD Garden, Green said he had no hard feelings about being traded from Boston and has embraced his new role with a new and improved team.
“It’s a business, it happens,” Green said of the Jan. 12 trade. “I had speculation. I just went upon each day like I’m still a Celtic, like I gotta play hard every game.”
Since joining Memphis, Green has averaged 12.5 points and 4.1 rebounds on 40 percent shooting. Unlike his tenure with the Celtics, Green has been consistent, scoring in double figures in 21 of his 26 games (22 starts).
“I knew guys prior to coming to this situation for a couple of years,” Green said. “When I got here coach [Dave Joerger] made it simple. He said, ‘Be yourself,’ and that’s all you can ask for. Coming into this situation I didn’t think was a challenge because I didn’t have to change who I was. I didn’t have to change my style. My goal was to come in and play hard, just like I did when I was [in Boston].”
“I haven’t changed one bit. My approach to the game is give it my all.”
While the Celtics were in rebuild mode over the past 1½ seasons, looking to Green to be a major contributor but losing on most nights, the Grizzlies had the NBA’s third-best record entering Tuesday, two games ahead of the Rockets for the second seed in the Western Conference.
“I felt like when I was [in Boston], the goal was to win,” he said. “I’m here [in Memphis], the goal is to win, nothing changes. These guys do a great job of setting the standard and building a gap between them and the competition.
“The West is tough. The style we play, how we play, how they played before I got here, I just had to come in and help any way I can.”
Green said he speaks with the Celtics’ Avery Bradley “every other day, he’s like my brother.” He also talks often with Gerald Wallace and has contacted coach Brad Stevens and former teammates Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk since the trade.
“I have a close relationship with the guys, I have watched them play numerous times,” he said.
Green played 222 games with Boston, averaging 14.6 points per game and 20.3 points during the six-game playoff series with the Knicks in 2012-13.
He has watched several Celtics return to Boston over the past four years and receive a tribute video, but those players won championships so Green didn’t expect to be honored. A team source confirmed there would be no tribute, that they are reserved for players on title-winning teams.
Gary Washburn can be reached at email@example.com.