Outsiders have always demanded more out of Jeff Green, and recently the Boston Celtics small forward has made a habit of doing so himself.

“I’m aiming to average 30 points, seven (rebounds) and five (assists). No, realistically probably 20 points and up,” he said, fingering a goal significantly higher than his career high of 16.5 points per game. “Each year I have (goals), but this year it’s more of a focus for me to get those stats. The last couple years, it’s been, ‘Alright, I want this.’ Then it just goes with the flow of the season, and then I just try to figure out what I can get. But this year it’s a goal that I have in mind.”

Before anybody tries to lambast Green for a me-first attitude, understand he also said he looks to the Boston Red Sox for inspiration, pointing to the way the baseball team has exceeded expectations. He badly wants the Celtics to round into a surprising success story. Plus, his individual goals should mesh with his team’s. Teammates are trying to pull more aggression out of Green. One of those teammates, Jared Sullinger, playfully chided the small forward Tuesday about not shooting enough. Green said Rajon Rondo also encourages him to take more of the scoring burden; and given all the talent lost from last year’s team, the Celtics would benefit significantly if Green can consistently provide 20-plus points per night.

He showed the potential to score that much late last season, leading the Celtics in the postseason at 20.3 points per game. But I can’t stop the feeling that Green is putting too much pressure on himself. He called himself the go-to guy all offseason, saying the target would be on his back, putting the expectations at an extremely high level. He stacked so much responsibility on his own shoulders, then followed it with an uneven training camp and preseason. Head coach Brad Stevens offered some criticism during training camp – a contrast to the shiny reviews he offered regarding just about everybody else – and Green averaged just 10.0 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists on 32.5 percent shooting over the preseason.

Obviously, preseason statistics aren’t a perfect predictor for future success. But other troubling signs popped up, too. At one point Green suggested the sets were difficult to learn at three positions; Stevens said he would try simplifying things by limiting the amount of spots the 27-year old would play. Long a non-factor on the glass – his contract includes a rebounding clause as incentive – Green was startlingly incompetent in that area throughout the preseason.

It’s entirely possible the small forward just needed time to adjust to a new system and will be fine once the regular season arrives. As Stevens noted Tuesday, Green’s best preseason games came in the past couple of weeks. He improved with more repetitions in the coach’s system and one of his biggest issues – missing shots – seems likely to disappear with a larger sample size. Although the efficiency levels Green reached over the second half of last season could be tough to replicate without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, his percentages from the floor shouldn’t remain nearly as low as they were in the preseason. If I had to pick the Celtics likely leading scorer, I would still choose him.

Even if he still sounds like he’s finding his way in Stevens’ system.

"It's a learning experience, first and foremost," said Green. "I've never been in this position where I have to take X amount of shots, where I have to focus on scoring. All my career it's been being a defensive player, just running the floor. I've always had three or four things where I had to focus on the most. Now it's scoring, trying to get teammates involved, playing 'D.' It's numerous things that I have to think about -- playing multiple positions, guarding multiple positions. There's a lot going on upstairs but it will be fine."

“I’ve been, for so many years, the type of player to take the shot if it’s open. I know my shots, you know?” he said. “Now I don’t have that one shot. Now it’s any shot. So I just have to be aware of that and just try to I guess focus on taking whatever I can.”