Gerald Green has shown a great deal of improvment from when he was drafted until now. No one doubts that Gerald can score but he has had to learn NBA defenses and getting his points within the team concept. He has made big strides in improving these areas. Hopefully he will continue to get minutes this year and continue improving. I am also excited about another Celtic winning the Slam Dunk Contest... But I am getting ahead of myself ... Here is today's profile of Gerald Green.
In the 2005 draft, the Celtics got what is considered by most GM's as 2 steals. They picked up Ryan Gomes with the 50th pick and with the 18th pick, the Celtics picked Gerald Green, the high school phenom out of Gulf Shores Academy in Houston, Texas. Gerald is the son of Gerald, Sr, a retired firefighter, and Brenda Green. He was born on January 26, 1986, at half time of Super Bowl XX. His nickname is G-Money. He didn’t play basketball his freshman and sophomore years at Dobie High School in Houston. He played his junior season at Dobie but then transferred to Gulf Shores Academy, where he repeated his junior year and played his senior year. He originally committed to Oklahoma State but decided to enter the draft when it seemed that he would be a lottery pick. He was named a 2004 McDonald’s All-American and played in the McDonald’s High School All-America game.
NBAdraft.net compares Gerald to Tracy McGrady and has this to say about him, "Everything this kid does is silky smooth, even hard drives to the lane capped with the empahatic dunk seem easy... Has supreme athleticism, and gets many points off ally oop dunks as well as on drives to the hole... Has a very quick, effortless release on his jump shot. Combine that with great elevation and you have an almost unblockable shot... Most of the shots go in, in fact his jump shot from midrange to outside is one of his defining qualities... Loves to spot up for the open three, or stop and pop for the 15 footer... Overall just a sick scorer from outside ... Even At 6'8 he handles the ball like a guard, often starting (and finishing) the fast break... Loves to run the floor for the ally oop dunk, but also knows when to pass the ball... Most of those passes get right where they need to be ... However, those fast breaks don't just start themselves, Gerald is often the one creating the turnovers.. His long arms and tremendous athleticism lead to lots of blocked shots and steals. Often creating the turnover, starting the break, and finishing with a monster dunk... Also rebounds exceptionally well for a guard/forward his size... The total package, an all around player who will do whatever it takes to win. There aren't many with his gifts at his size... With time and effort this kid will be something special."
Green was projected to go in the top 5 by virtually every mock draft on the internet. It truly amazed everyone in the Celtics Nation when he was still there when they picked at 18. No one really knows why he slipped that far, but there have been a couple of conjectures. One is that Gerald is missing part of a finger on his shooting hand. When he was 11, Gerald was playing in his Houston home, where he had put up a makeshift hoop over a doorway. He was wearing his mother's class ring and caught the ring on a nail that was holding up the basket. "I was trying to see how high I could jump,'' he said. Almost a decade later, Green's father, Gerald Sr., still cringes when talking about the accident. "They couldn't re-attach it,'' the elder Green said. "So they had to shave off part of his finger. I had nightmares about it.'' In spite of this injury, Gerald had developed a silky smooth shot and doesn't seem to have any problems handling the ball.
A more realistic possibility is that his agent wouldn't let him work out against other players in the pre-draft workouts in order to limit the chance of injury. Several of the teams who may have taken him began to doubt his competitiveness. He never even worked out for the Celtics because they felt he would be gone long before they picked at #18.
Gerald's is a great kid and all of his Celtics' teammates really like being around him and some have even described him as being like an eager puppy. One writer said that "He oozes humility." .His dad has done a good job of keeping him grounded in that he had Gerald out mowing and edging the lawn the day before the draft.
After being selected by the Celtics, Gerald said, "I've always been a big Celtics fan, especially Larry Bird. I haven't gotten a chance to meet him yet, but hopefully I will. I own a bunch of throwbacks, and I had a Larry Bird jersey that I loved to wear, but my little brother accidentally spilled some Kool-Aid on it. It was an all white one, so now I have to get a new one. Thing is, now I'm going to have my own Celtics jersey, so that's even better. It's a trip to think people are going to be wearing my jersey. First time I see it, that's just going to be crazy." It is that kind of refreshing attitude that has endeared Gerald to everyone around him.
Once being chosen by the Celtics, it didn't take Gerald long to make others notice him. In his very first Summer League game, Green wowed the Cox Pavilion crowd with an electrifying dunk that was still being shown on a videotape loop in the arena lobby five days later and that Boston team president Danny Ainge called "one of the best" he's ever seen. Taking a pass on the wing just beyond the free throw line, the 6-foot-8 Green spun around his man, drove baseline, elevated high over 6-11 Clippers forward Mark Bortz and threw down an emphatic tomahawk jam. Bortz, who had slid over in a futile attempt to stop Green, wound up getting called for a blocking foul on the play as he landed backward on the floor. Green got a free throw -- which he sank -- and a lot of hoots and hollers from his Celtics teammates on the bench. "I was open and I dunked," Green said later with a shrug. "I wasn't real worried about it. The game was close. I was just trying to win. Some of the guys said they'd never seen anything like that before, but I think they were just blowing me up. I'm sure they've seen it before, especially on this team with guys like Ricky Davis and Paul Pierce and Tony Allen." There's that humility again.
When the regular season started Gerald wasn't getting much playing time and Danny felt it would be best for him to go to the D League for awhile. Gerald was sent to the Fayetteville Patriots where he averaged 11.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists. When he was called back up to the parent team, he seemed to have grown a lot. He also had a very brief stint with the Florida Flame. His time in the D League gave him much needed confidence and a chance to work on his defense. After being called up from the D League he got a chance to play because of the injuries to Wally and Pierce and West and did very well. He appeared in 32 games and averaged 11.8 minutes, 5.2 points, and 1.2 rebounds during these contests.
Who could forget his dunks against Toronto at the end of the year? Certainly Toronto didn't. There were pages and pages of posts on the Raptors' message boards about those dunks, not to mention quite a few on the Celtics' boards also after the first dunk. Then, a few days later, he once again finished the game against Toronto with another emphatic exclamation point!
This summer Gerald once again brought down the house and supplied the Summer League with the play that everyone was talking about when he received a between the legs pass from Telfair and took it in for a monster jam.
It has been rumored that Green was being offered in trades by Danny. Gerald is the player with the highest ceiling of all our kids and the one who has the best chance of reaching that ceiling. With a little more patience, the Celtics will have a perennial all star, not to mention a future slam dunk champion. Most Celtics fans are hoping that he stays a Celtic for many years to come.
This is a kid I feel real good about. He's naively good, in that he just goes out and does what comes naturally to him. He's got inner confidence, that can sometimes be shaken, but when its there, you will see how scary good this kid can be. I don't really think he plays like Tracy McGrady. I'm still trying to put a finger on who I think he plays a lot like. Sometimes he'll look like Dominique Wilkins, sometimes he'll look like Jordan, maybe a bit of T-Mac, maybe some Richard Jefferson.
I think Gerald can work on strengthening his legs. Sounds weird saying this about a guy who can get his eyes parallel to the rim, but if you watch his lateral movements, making a quick reaction from side to side, he's got some problems there. Watch him shift his weight from side to side and during the times he needs to do it quickly, he can't do it. Watch him dribbling the ball or run without the ball and you'll see that he needs to push off quite hard to make a change of direction from his right to his left, or vice versa.
This is probably the only thing I see in his physical abilities that needs improvement.
As for basketball abilities, I want Gerald to be a terrific can and shoot guy, ala Reggie Miller and Rip Hamilton. Work the screens, flare out to the wings, catch the pass as he turns the corner, and pop a sweet J that hits nothing but the botom of the net. We know that he can already score on his own if the team clears out for him. Now he has to learn how to be an effective player in the team offense.
The example that runs in my head is in one of the summer league games, Gerald has the ball on the fastbreak on the left side of the court. He's a bit out of control and a defender is standing in his way. He tries to juke his man, but he isn't able to and instead, he runs right into the guy and sends him flying to the ground (with a bit of acting from the defender). Gerald tries to cut left, but its as if his legs didn't have the strength to push off strong enough.