Jeff Green was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies on January 12, 2015. He was touted as that final piece to the Grizzlies puzzle. That two-way, 3-and-D forward that Memphis has never had to pair next to the core four. These expectations are what ultimately led to fans celebrating on February 18, 2016 when Jeff Green was dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Green did have nights where he looked like he was that forward that completed Memphis' puzzle. He has the potential to be a human highlight reel who can dunk over your mightiest rim protector. He could be a spot up shooter who spreads a defense completely out. He could call upon the memory of Rudy Gay and start hitting mid-range over anybody. That Jeff Green was not the Jeff Green Grizzly fans got all the time. He'd show flashes, and those flashes were so much fun.
Then there were the more frequent, less enjoyable moments. Getting lit up by Kevin Durant and just about anyone else he guarded. For every made thunderous dunk there was a wild drive to the basket that ended in the ball going the other direction. For every three that swished through the net there were the ones that shouldn't have been taken or the ones that were and clanked against the rim. For every mid-range jumper that he made there were the ones that stopped Memphis' offense in its tracks.
Expectations were too high. Then when Green was bad nobody was able to find the middle ground. He's not a great player, and he's not what the Grizzlies needed. The idea that was presented was great, but the product was subpar because that initial idea was supposed to help the Grizzlies win a championship.
When I heard Doc Rivers traded a future first round pick for Green I thought he had lost his mind. There's no way he had watched Jeff Green play for the Grizzlies. That would mean he wasn't paying attention in his games against the Grizzlies, which now makes more sense. It was an incredible stroke of luck for a team that seemed headed towards re-signing Green at an ungodly rate.
The Green experience did not improve when moved to the West Coast. Rivers found that out the hard way. Green was once again the victim of lofty expectations. He can't be expected to be that 3-and-D guy. He's never been that guy. If you expected him to be a guy that can occasionally run as a small ball four and make athletic plays then you may be pleasantly surprised. Instead, all Green leaves behind him is disappointment as he is put in situations where he is used like an elite wing.
Maybe Green's next stop will go better than the last two.