Stats: | 28.4 MPG| 15.8 PPG| 3.4 RPG| 1.5 APG| 0.9 SPG| 44.5 FG%| 40.0 3P%|
What can you say about Gerald Green? Green is one of the most athletic dunkers in NBA history, and on occasion, he’s been known to put his chin right up on the rim. Green has been the Slam Dunk Contest winner at All-Star Weekend, and he’s been known to dazzle the crowd with his stunning array of dunks. He may only have nine fingers, but Green certainly has no shortage of heart, managing to play in all 82 games last season, for the first time in his career.
Gerald Green was one of the biggest players for the Suns in the 2013-2014 season. Often he found himself providing the spark offensively, but even when Green wasn’t hitting, he seemed to have a limitless amount of energy to bring to the team. One cannot help but remember Green running over and nearly tackling a fan, after he hit a half court shot to win $77,777. Then, after Green made a big shot against the Thunder, he turned to the crowd and started high-fiving fans. That’s just who Gerald Green was, and who he is. That’s just Gerald Green.
Gerald Green’s best game was WITHOUT A DOUBT his 41-point performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder, as the Suns would come back from a 16-point deficit to get the victory. Green only needed 22 shots to get his 41 points, and he also helped in other areas, putting up five rebounds, two assists, three steals, and one block. Gerald Green took over for a long stretch in the game, and he really carried the Suns offensively. Green’s 41 points and eight three-pointers were both career-highs, and the Suns managed to get a huge victory despite allowing 122 points to one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
While his performance against OKC was clearly Gerald Green’s best game, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Green’s game-winning shot against Minnesota. Green had been fairly quiet up to that point, with just 12 points, but it wasn’t until the final seconds that Green really exploded on the scene. Down one with 16 seconds left, Dragic had the ball, and he was looking to make a play. Unable to get himself open, Dragic dropped the ball off to Markieff Morris, who corralled the tough pass with time winding down. Morris then handed the ball off to a cutting Green, and the rest was history; Green rose up and hit the game-winner.
Gerald Green really has two elite areas of his game, each exciting to watch in their own right. First, Green has the ability to jump out of a gym, and he often shows off his athleticism with ridiculous dunks from all around the court. Green is considered one of the best dunkers in the NBA, and he never fails to disappoint on a fast break. Green was even given the nickname “G-AIR-ald,” for his absurd ability to leap through the air and dunk the ball from just about anywhere inside the free-throw line.
Green’s second elite area is his ability to take over a game with his scoring. Green shot 40% from three-point range, which set a new career best, and he also posted a career high in free-throw percentage. Green scored 20 or more points a remarkable 25 times, and he even broke the 30-point barrier on five separate occasions. Gerald Green’s ability to carry the Suns offensively on any given night really made the team dangerous, especially when he was coming off of the bench.
Gerald Green certainly showed a ton of improvement in his consistency during the 2013-2014 season. After an up-and-down start, Green finished the year with at least 20 points in five of his last nine games, and he scored 10 or more points in 14 of his last 17. Green set new career highs in minutes, points, assists, and steals per game, all while posting the highest Player Efficiency Rating of his career: 16.55. Green received fourth-place in the voting for Most Improved Player, falling behind only Lance Stephenson, Anthony Davis, and Goran Dragic.
Let me start off by saying that I’m not going to criticize Gerald Green’s shot selection. Yes, he takes a ton of bad shots, but he also makes a lot of them. If you took away Gerald Green’s ability to hoist up a shot from anywhere on the court, you would be taking away his most dangerous attribute and the thing that makes defenders have to work so hard against him. That being said, Green needs to continue to become more consistent, especially with his three-point shot. This season, Green had 34 games where he shot 50% or better from three, but he also had 23 games where he shot 25% or worse, including two games where he went 0-7 and 0-8.
Additionally, Green has room for improvement on using his length to defend. As a 6’8 shooting guard with a 6’10 wingspan, Green could effectively use his length to shut down the likes of James Harden, Stephen Curry, and the other elite guards in the league. If Green were to develop as a defender and get his defense to a level similar of Kawhi Leonard, he would become one of the best players in the NBA.
Future with the Team:
Green will be under contract with the Suns for the following season, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. However, if Green continues to progress, and the Suns don’t draft or trade for another shooting guard/small forward to take his spot, there’s no reason to think that the Suns would resign Green for a couple more years, especially considering that he will only be 29 when his contract expires.