PHOENIX — Dallas could have been the last place the NBA heard of Gerald Green. The former pick of the Boston Celtics that included front office underling and future Suns general manager Ryan McDonough found himself a free agent and signed with the Mavericks in 2008, but the stint was short.
“Our two position was kind of in flux all year long,” Carlisle said. “He went through the kinds of things players do before they find themselves.”
Some players simply take longer to find themselves than others.
Playing behind a healthy Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse, Green’s opportunities were limited with the Mavs, and like his stints before, the minutes were hardly ever there for the taking. Carlisle treated Green well, and the two are still cordial.
“I remember when I was there with the Mavs, man, he was always bringing me to his office and making sure I was going to be ready,” Green said.
The support didn’t help Green get on the court often — or stay in the league. He played in Russia and China, even making an appearance with the Lakers’ D-league affiliate, the LA D-Fenders. Green averaged double-digit points with a miserable New Jersey Nets team in his NBA return in 2012, earned a multi-year contract with the Indiana Pacers, but fell out of favor by struggling to shoot.
Phoenix has already seen the shifts in confidence from their reserve, and it’s hurt he’s switched between starter and bench player.
Credit Jeff Hornacek for giving Green the tools to chuck threes without thinking, and give his teammates the nod for keeping Green’s head up. In the last two games, he’s scored 41 combined points to help Phoenix come from 21 points down to drop Denver then return to U.S. Airways the next night, where 22 points help the Suns win 123-108 against the Mavs.
“A lot of guys have been talking to me the last couple weeks, I wasn’t playing as good,” Green said. “They kind of seen that I was getting a little down on myself. They still had confidence in me. It does a lot for a player, when a player struggles, just to know deep down inside teammates have confidence.”
It’s easy when the floor is spread and the pick-and-roll game is clicking between the Suns’ two point guards and the big men. It doesn’t hurt Green has quite the bright green light.
“Me and coach are really close,” Green said. “We’re always talking, he’s always trying to say this stuff to make me laugh, tell me stories about how he used to play. Even when we’re shooting, he’ll say little things like ‘Oh, don’t let Gerald shoot, it’ll go in.’
Jeff Hornacek on P.J. Tucker’s three-point shooting: “It’s great when P.J. makes those corner threes. I’m still on him about shooting them. He says, ‘Coach, my feet weren’t ready.’ And I said, ‘Well, if you’re going to be shooting you have to get your feet ready.’ I like when he shoots the three, I think he shoots it well, especially from those corner areas.”