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UNCLE JEFF: Forever-Hoya Jeff Green Has Legendary Night for Brooklyn Nets

The “Jeff Green Game” saves Kevin Durant and the Nets’ playoffs

2021 NBA Playoffs - Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

For those of you so-called basketball fans who consider yourselves too good for the NBA, you may have missed one of the top career games of Georgetown Hoyas legend Jeff Green, who bailed out his old buddy Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets as they went ahead 3-2 in the series with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Green’s seven straight three pointers jumped out of the box score, but +12 rating indicates how important his defense and aggressiveness were to the Nets. Only a game back from a foot strain, the former number-5 pick continues to evolve his game to whatever the team needs—this time it saved KD’s butt.

Jeff Green has indeed been around the block, playing for 10+ teams since starting his career with Durant on the Seattle Supersonics in 2007-08. This is Green’s eighth playoff run, with the 2018 Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss in the NBA Finals being the longest.

Here are some of the recent (and not-so-recent) articles and social media posts:

The N.B.A.’s Roving Role Player Hopes to Settle Down in Brooklyn | NYTIMES (recent)

Green, 34, is one of 18 players in N.B.A. history to play for at least 10 teams. He is now in the playoffs as a core member of the Nets — one of his seven postseason teams. During the regular season, he played some of the best basketball of his career, posting a career high in offensive efficiency, while starting for more than half the season filling in for the All-Stars Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving.

On one of the most loaded teams in N.B.A. history, Green has carved out a niche for himself, averaging 11 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, with the occasional highlight-reel dunk. Because of a plantar fascia strain in his left foot, Green missed six straight playoff games before returning on Sunday for Game 4 of the Nets’ second-round series against Milwauke

With His Legacy on the Line, Kevin Durant Delivers | SI

Green was locked in from the jump as his shot-making kept the Bucks from taking an even larger lead in the first half. With Harden and Joe Harris struggling from three-point range, Green provided a necessary threat from deep, shooting 7-of-8 from beyond the arc to power his 27 points off the bench. Green recently missed time with a torn plantar fascia, and he showed just what Brooklyn was without in that time—a physical presence on defense and reliable production on offense.

Kevin Durant Earns Praise As The ‘Best Player In The World’ After ‘Historic’ Triple-Double In Game 5 | FORBES

Durant joined a select group that includes Oscar Robertson, Charles Barkley and Luka Doncic among players to notch a 45-15-10 triple-double in the playoffs.

“The injuries that he’s been through, to come back from the Achilles to the hamstring, the world is witnessing once again who the best player in the world is,” said Jeff Green, Durant’s teammate and old friend from Prince George’s County (MD). “He’s a workhorse, he loves basketball and he works on his craft.”

Six years after open-heart surgery saved his life, Jeff Green saves the Cavaliers’ season | THEUNDEFEATED (2018)

As Jeff Green walked to his dressing space in the jubilant Cleveland Cavaliers locker room after the team secured its fourth straight trip to the NBA finals, you couldn’t help but notice the scar that extends from his stomach to just before his neckline. That scar is the result of a surgery from six years ago that could have cut short Green’s NBA career. Green survived that lifesaving procedure. And, on Sunday night, Green helped save the Cavaliers’ NBA season.

[N]either James nor Lue would be celebrating if Green hadn’t chipped in with 19 points, more than adequately filling in for Kevin Love, which helped him reach the NBA Finals for the first time in his career.

“I’m here,” Green said after the game. “I’ve worked my butt off each day since January 9, 2012.”

The Scar by Jeff Green | The Players’ Tribune

My attitude got a lot better during that period. But I still couldn’t really process that fresh, raw scar — it was a constant reminder of how real this all was. I just wanted the scar to go away. I was dousing that thing in special scar cream, cocoa butter, whatever I could find that promised to accelerate the healing. You can ask my dad — I was obsessed with any product that could somehow make the scar go away. I didn’t want to face it at all. But after weeks of doing all that maintenance with very little impact on its appearance, I realized the scar wasn’t going anywhere. I didn’t have much of a choice: I decided to at least try to own the scar.

And the best way to do that, in my mind, was to make it part of my routine. I’m gonna show this thing off, I thought. I’m gonna take my shirt off anytime I’m lifting or working out. That way, I’d be forcing myself to adapt.

Nets’ Jeff Green opens up about life-saving heart surgery, giving back | NYPOST (Feb 2021)

“When you have the surgery, it’s a chainsaw to the ribs that’s cutting through the whole nervous system,” Green said. “After all the nervous shock to your whole body, then you have to train your lungs again. You have to learn to do everything. It’s basically starting from scratch.

“Training your lungs to take one deep breath — not two, one powerful deep breath — was the hardest thing ever. That’s why I tell people it’s like being a baby. Taking that first breath is probably the most difficult thing ever.” Now Green still has a long 9-inch scar from his neck to the top of his abdomen, and three sewn-up holes from tubes that’d been inserted during the surgery. But he’s owned those scars and reimagined them as badges of honor.

From lottery pick to heart surgery, Jeff Green is the Rockets’ X-Factor | SPACECITYSCOOP (2020)

Since joining the Rockets, Green is shooting 79.7 percent inside of 10 feet, which is fifth-best during that time frame. This represents 49.7 percent of his shots, so it’s clearly not a small sample size either. This will be a big part of the Rockets’ game when running the pick-and-roll with Harden, since he will be double-teamed throughout the series.

Coming into the season, Green was an afterthought for most Houston Rockets fans. With Green having been a role player on the hated Utah Jazz, he was just another player to root against. But fast forward ten months (yes 10 months) and Green is now one of the most valuable players on the Rockets.

Jeff Green: ‘I’d love to settle down in Brooklyn’ | NETSDAILY

So will he get a multi-year deal at more than the vets minimum this off-season? He is one of nine free agent decisions the Nets will have to make. In addition they and their “Big Three” can work out extensions this summer… Could Uncle Jeff get lost in the shuffle ... again? Under the CBA, they can offer him $3.6 million or give up a piece of the taxpayers MLE which will be around $6 million.

Despite the love he’s gotten from fans, teammates and the game’s greats, Green is seemingly resigned to his fate. “You can’t take this career, these opportunities for granted,” Green said. “Regardless of how many teams that I’ve been on, the end of the day, my goal was to play in the NBA. and I’m still doing that.”