Caplan: Green More Than Highlight Reels

Barry Gossage/NBAE

Gerald Green’s dunks are great. We all know that.

But he’s proven to be much more than that this season for the Suns. In Wednesday’s win over the Lakers, the 6-8 swingman scored a season-high 28 points on 12-of-18 shooting.

Only one of those 12 made field goals was a dunk.

Jeff Caplan of NBA.com’s Hang Time blogs delved a little deeper into the story of Green, who’s path went through a few lows before peaking this season in Phoenix.

Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek realized immediately what nearly every other coach failed to see – except Green’s former D-League coach, Eric Musselman.

“Anybody who would have had his background, played at the high school he played at, went directly to the pros, anybody would have his issues,” Musselman said. “It just so happens that he was a freak athlete and had like a bionic body. If he didn’t have that, I think people would just attribute it to, ‘Well, he’s young, he’s still growing.’ I think people gave up on him too early, and what a lot of people would call ill-advised shots or poor timing on shots, that’s Gerald — you’ve got to let him go.

“He is a 3-point specialist. If he didn’t have that dunking ability people would think of him as a really streaky guy who could put points up on the board in a hurry and change the complexion of a game. But I think because of his athleticism and dunking and all that, I think people have a misconstrued perception of how good of a shooter he is.”

It’s a big reason why Green enjoys dunking, but doesn’t enjoy the noise about it after the game is over. The play serves to ignite his team. That’s it. Caplan writes that Green will not participate in this year’s Dunk Contest as a result, though he is undoubtedly a candidate after appearing repeatedly in NBA.com’s top 10 plays of the night for reasons like this:

Caplan’s piece is worth the read to get a better bead on Green’s past and the long road he took to get back into the NBA and, eventually, to Phoenix.

It’s left him a little more thoughtful and appreciative.