One of the biggest things that the Thunder have going for them over the next few seasons is their core of young talent. One of the key members of this "core" is Jeff Green, the #5 pick in the 2007 NBA draft. Green was appropriately drafted by the Celtics but was then traded to the SuperSonics as part of a draft day deal that included Ray Allen.
Green had a strong rookie season last year finishing fourth among rookies in scoring with an average of 10.5 points per game. That number jumped to 11.7 in the 51 games that he started. He grabbed an average of 4.7 boards per game and registered a block and a steal about every other game.
Jeff will be the Thunder's starting small forward as the season begins and is expected to improve on the numbers that he put up last season. Look for him to be the team's third leading scorer and rebounder during the regular season.
Green has only played in three of OKC's preseason games so far as he sat out the past two with a left ankle sprain. The injury is minor, and he's back practicing with the team and expected to play in the final two preseason games as well as the season opener versus Milwaukee.
In his three preseason games, Green is averaging 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 21 minutes while shooting 37.9% from the field. He was the Thunder's leading scoring against the Kings nearly doubling his average as he put 19 points on the board.
A couple days ago OKC picked up the 2009-10 option on Green, so he'll be around for at least two more years. Expect the Thunder to make a play to keep him even longer than that as they work to turn the youthful core into a playoff caliber team.