The Houston Rockets’ acquisition of Jeff Green wasn’t exactly a sexy move, as Green was merely expected to take on a Udonis Haslem type of role with the franchise. Green had just wrapped up his 16th season in the NBA, one that saw him hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy as a member of the Denver Nuggets.
Green was viewed as purely a locker room signing and a veteran presence for a young Rockets roster. However, poor play by Jock Landale and early inconsistent play from Jabari Smith Jr. forced him to play more than anyone would’ve imagined.
Green was in Rockets coach Ime Udoka’s closing lineups early in the season, which is a testament to his conditioning and ability to still play at a high level at 37 years-of-age.
Or it could also be perceived as proof of the Rockets’ lack of reserve bigs, but let’s stay positive here.
Green has put together his most efficient season in his 17-year career, as his 65.2 true shooting percentage and 53.6 percent from the field both represent career bests.
Which is insane to think about for a 37-year-old.
Rockets coach Ime Udoka was asked about Green’s ability to re-discover the fountain of youth and he gave Green his flowers.
Jeff Green receives high praise from Ime Udoka, Cam Whitmore
“It is impressive. He's extra athletic, still.
He's very motivated. Takes care of his body and takes pride in his craft.
I think it's a testament to his work everyday and kind of what he rubs off on the team but it's kinda crazy when you think about it.
Still playing at that level. He's very reliable for us and we're asking him to alot of the times when guys are in foul trouble or guarding all over the place."
Green’s teammate, Cam Whitmore, also gave his thoughts on the elder statesman’s turning back of the clock.
"He definitely knows his spots. He definitely knows how to guard certain guys.
He knows the guys. He's been in the league for a minute now.
It's great to have him on the team. He makes sure to correct the young guys. That's a great attribute."
Green has maintained his athleticism, which was on display when the Rockets faced the Detroit Pistons, as he had a reverse jam on Pistons big man James Wiseman.
Green nearly put Wiseman on another poster, in which he attempted to destroy him.
Green also nearly had a chasedown block on Philadelphia 76ers guard De’Anthony Melton.
Green’s highlight plays might earn him a call from the league office regarding a drug test, as it’s not normal for someone of his age and tenure to still be this athletic. But as Udoka said, it's a testament to Green's longevity and conditioning.