PHOENIX – “This is my seventh one. I got about six or seven more to go. Living out of a big bag and just washing my clothes when I get to another hotel and using my change up.” – Erick Green on the number of workouts he’s gone through
The NCAA’s best scorer at 25 points per game, Green’s best attribute is his blazing speed. In a number of ways, he resembles Tony Parker with his smoothness in the full court, pushing the pace but looking in sound control at high speeds. Unlike Parker, Green enters the NBA with a dangerous jump shot. He’s able to pull up at a moment’s notice from full speed, off pick-and-rolls or at a standstill to knock down jumpers.
At 6-foot-3 and with a solid 6-foot-5.75 wingspan, Green has a high release and a true jumper that allows him to get his shots off in almost any situation, even when turning the corner off pick-and-rolls. And like Parker, Green has a floater in the paint that can make up for his lack of strength.
Green worked out for the Suns on Saturday and said his greatest attribute would be his leadership abilities that shined despite playing for a Virginia Tech Hokies squad that struggled.
“When things aren’t going your way, how to handle yourself,” the four-year standout said of what he learned. “Kept going, kept (my) head straight.”
Green might be considered a shooting guard in a point guard’s body. Had he been more than 6-foot-1 without shoes, he might be closer to a MarShon Brooks rather than a player who is slotted as a point guard simply because of his size.
And with a similarly skinny frame, Green is criticized for his lack of finishing ability and as a defensive liability. Lacking elite athleticism outside of his above-average speed, Green will spend his many pre-draft workouts proving he is a capable defender.
Likewise, he’ll also be hoping to show he’s more than a pure scorer. Though his role at Virginia Tech required he take 17 shots per game, breaking the mold of a needed go-to scorer could be his biggest problem as he converts himself into an NBA point guard.
“My first workout, I think Boston, I just tried to show everybody I could play point guard too much,” Green said after working out for the Suns. “Now my seventh workout, I’m more comfortable.
“And definitely play good on-the-ball defense,” he added. “I think I showed a good job of that today.”
Green’s 3.8 assists weren’t all that bad for a guy focused on carrying much weight for the Hokies. Above all, Green has already proven he’s an elite scorer, so the next step in his development as a player is growing into whatever role he’s needed for the team that drafts him. It appears that he’ll be solely a point guard at the next level, and the good news for Green is that the Suns’ workout showed he’s at his best in that regard.
“He’s definitely a point guard,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Size isn’t going to let him be a two-guard. But he’s a guy who can score. He did a good job of getting the ball up the court. He may be known as a scoring point, but he did a nice job of actually being a point guard.”
How he fits with the Suns
Fitting with the Suns and their 30th pick isn’t hard to imagine for Green, who thrives in the open court and spreads the floor as a solid spot-up shooter off the ball – he hit 40 percent of catch-and-shoot jumpers, according to Synergy Sports Technology.
“They get up and down,” Green said, “played fast. That’s my type of game.”
For a squad that’s expected to also use heavy pick-and-roll sets, Green could be viewed as a Leandro Barbosa type backup point guard who can score a lot in few minutes. Of course, something will have to give ifand are retained, but Green apparently showed the ability to play point guard – and defend as well.
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