Jeff Green, Boston Celtics
The potential never left Jeff Green to arrive. What chased it away temporarily was a trade to an already playoff-ready team in 2011 that robbed him of a role and heart surgery that took his entire lockout-shortened season. This season he got the minutes, he found comfort in Doc Rivers’ rotations and turned in a year that, while not without its bumps and shoddy defense, showed why Green is primed to become a go-to forward (whether small or power) in the eventual post-Pierce/Garnett era. Ever since his trade from Oklahoma City there was a sense he was an outsider, and played like it as a master of deference. At some point this season, whether spoken by Pierce and KG or assumed in the wake of Rajon Rondo’s knee injury, Green realized it was okay to takeover. What resulted was flash (43 points against Miami in the first game after Rondo’s injury) girded by underlying consistency, too, with an average of 16.5 points on 50 percent shooting and 43 percent from three in the season’s final 39 games. During that time Green became the focal point of one of the team’s favorite plays – as scouted by SB Nation’s Mike Prada – where he runs from the corner for a handoff at the arc’s wing and attacks the rim after a screen. Even with Pierce and Garnett still on the roster, he’s the only player who can pull off that move right now. He’ll get many more opportunities next year, too.