How Uncle Jeff Got His Groove Back

So Jeff Green blew up against the (terrible) Phoenix Suns on Friday, dropping 31 points on a Sam Boyer-esque 11-14 shooting from the field. The 26-year-old walking mismatch has been on a tear since the All-Star break, averaging 22 points, 5.3 boards, 3.3 assists, and 2.6 blocks a game. Combine those numbers with the fact that he’s shooting an even 50 percent from the field, 6-11 from downtown, and has only turned the ball over four times over the Celtics last three games, and you have indisputable evidence that “Uncle Jeff” is on the verge of becoming a breakout star.

Green was dubbed Uncle Jeff in the summer of 2007, right after he was drafted and was a part of the USA Basketball Select Team. Playing alongside future teammates Kevin Durant and Nick Collison, he practiced and scrimmaged against Team USA, whose stars (Carmelo and LeBron) decided to forever refer to him as Uncle.

Nobody really knows what these nicknames mean, but apparently Green was such a ladies man off the court, and such a versatile talent on the court that other players had to call him Unk. Aside from missing practice due to flu-like symptons, giving teammates random nicknames appears to be a favorite pastime in the NBA. Take a look at Big Al Jefferson’s naming prowess– he started by calling Rookie Enes Kanter “The Big Turkey” and then just went on down the roster.

Anyway back to Green, who has been the target of some ridiculous criticism for lacking aggressiveness or toughness in the early half of the season. Analysts (cough, Gary Tanguay) ignore the fact that Green underwent major heart surgery a year ago and question whether he has the mental ability to be a ‘killer’ at the NBA level.

The kid just needs some time, and apparently a little R & R. Unlike all those veterans who went home to their wives, or families with women other than their wives during the All-Star break, Uncle Jeff decided to spend his GreenBarbosaCUAEFCTu.jpg_largevacation kicking it with former-Celtic Leandro Barbosa in his native Brazil.

Here they are at Carnaval with some random guy, yet we have to assume that this was the least lecherous part of a few days in the life of the “Brazilian Blur.” Uncle Jeff probably relived some of his glory days on Spring Break from Georgetown, got his swagger back, and forgot all about the pressure and scrutiny of his come back season in the NBA. Here it is straight from Uncle Jeff’s own twitter feed:

Jeff Green @unclejeffgreen

“Back to work tonight…all star break was amazing…Brazilian caranval in Rio was dope and yes I can samba now, well I think I can lol”(8:13 PM – 19 Feb 13)

Football players need a little ballet to work on their cuts, Baseball players have their absurd superstitions, while Basketball players just reaffirm their awesomeness by banging a bunch of brazilian chicks. Sure that’s all speculation, but Green seems like a new man who’s got his mojo back and is embracing his role as the new torch-bearer for a Celtics franchise plagued by injuries.

You could see the way Paul Pierce deferred to Uncle Jeff throughout most of Friday’s game, and Tommy Heinsohn went so far as to call Green Pierce’s future replacement. If he does pan out and play like he has the past few games, well, Danny Ainge doesn’t look so dumb for trading Kendrick Perkins now does he?

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