The NBA preseason is a time for reckless optimism ahead of the sobering reality the regular season so often brings. In the preseason, role players can sometimes look like stars, young players appear to have made the leap, and aging veterans look like they haven’t lost so much as an ounce of bounce from their step.
In this way, the preseason is wonderful. Fans of all 30 teams are clutching to some grain of hope that this year will be great. Contenders think they could really win it all, middling teams think they’ll take the leap, and those at the bottom of the league think their young players will emerge as superstars.
That blind optimism isn’t reserved just for the fans, as players can often get caught up in the excitement that basketball’s return brings. In Cleveland, Jeff Green is the type of player who can show enough flashes in the preseason to get both himself and fans excited about what he can bring to the Cavs this season. Green is immensely talented, but has never quite been able to put it all together. Maybe, just maybe, this is the year for Green to emerge. At the least, his dunk on Monday night got his Cavs teammates very excited.
Whether he can make a significant impact in the regular season or not, signing Green was an easy choice for the Cavs this summer, as he agreed to a veteran minimum deal and a cash-strapped organization like Cleveland could only make moves by bringing players like Green in on minimum deals. As for Green, his choice to sign with the Cavs came down to wanting to win a championship, as he told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“Look around the locker room,” Green said. “Look at the opportunity we have … to learn from LeBron and (Dwyane) Wade now. … I had that opportunity when they called and now I have it. It was a no-brainer to pick Cleveland to win the championship this year.”
Green saying Cleveland is a “no-brainer” to win the title is certainly bold, considering the Warriors still exist, but if you’re on a contender you have to think that way. Until LeBron James is gone, the Cavs have a singular goal each year and that’s to win a championship. Green looked at this roster as his best chance to join a title winning team and learn some things from James and now Wade and he happily took it. Even so, don’t be surprised if Green’s comments get bookmarked by a Golden State team that is always happy to dig for motivation.