Precisely 24 minutes after the Thunder’s 100-99 loss at Cleveland on Saturday, Jeff Green posted a four-word message on Twitter that told the story of his 2009-10 season.
"Trying to have patience...” Green wrote.
The ellipses served as a fitting subliminal inclusion that confirms Green’s story is to be continued.
Green, the fifth overall pick in 2007, is struggling through a season-long slump that he can’t seem to find a way out of. His points, rebounds, assists and shooting percentages from the field, 3-point line and foul line are all down from a year ago. Green’s 12.7-point average this month is his lowest in a month since February of his rookie season in 2008.
But it was the Cavs game that Green seemingly reached his boiling point. Green scored 11 points, going 4-for-14 from the field and taking just one shot attempt in a fourth quarter that saw four ties, five lead changes and neither team holding a lead of more than six points.
"That was me just making a mental note to myself to stay patient,” Green said of his "tweet.” "It’s me staying patient with what I’m working with and continue to work hard and just be patient and know that things will turn around.”
After developing a consistent perimeter shooting touch in his second year, Green has reverted to shooting 29 percent from beyond the arc this season. His 14-point average is 2.5 points fewer than last year’s career-high, and his 6.1 rebounds are 0.6 fewer than last season’s total.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks, though, sees Green shaking his slump soon. Brooks knows that behind the scenes Green has been working with assistant coach Brian Keefe. The two have spent ample time in the film room dissecting Green’s shooting form from last season. The findings were that Green’s shot has been too flat. Brooks assures Green has made the adjustment.
"His release is a lot better,” Brooks said. "He’s about to go on a nice stretch here. I sense it. I feel it.”
Green, regarded as perhaps the most unselfish player on the team, said he wants to play better but can live with his performances as long as the Thunder continues winning.
"Whatever it takes for us to win, I’m going to do,” Green said.
"I want to win games. I really don’t care about the individual stats. If we continue to win and make the playoffs and eventually get to the point where we want to be, I couldn’t care less about those individual stats.