The Nets helped relaunch Gerald Green’s career, and now he’s just simply launching.
After spending $315 million in offseason contracts, it’s hard not to forget the one man the Nets did not pony up for. Green signed a 10-day contract with the Nets during 2011-12 and parlayed those 10 days into three years and $10.5 million with the Indiana Pacers.
Green electrified the Prudential Center crowd with his high-flying dunks and unexpected outside shot.
In his last full NBA season, Green averaged 41.9 percent shooting for the Boston Celtics. In New Jersey, Green shot 48.1 percent and posted a 12.9 ppg average. In seven preseason games with the Pacers, Green kept pace averaging 12.3 ppg on a 46.8 shooting clip.
The Nets essentially replaced Green with Josh Childress, a player who also boasted a high ceiling earlier in his career.
Plays like this one will be hard to forget.
As well as this these.
Green has left his coaches and teammates scratching their heads. They can’t believe he fell into their laps.
Credit Billy King, Avery Johnson, and the entire organization for taking a chance on a career once thought dead.
“We looked at his decision making,” head coach Frank Vogel told the Indianapolis Star’s Mike Wells. “We knew he could dunk the ball, we knew he could shoot the ball, but can he play the game? You watch his pick-and-rolls, you watch his attacks, with his helps. His decision making was far advanced in my mind when we evaluated him.”
Teammate David West tweeted a picture of Green’s leaping abilities. The Pacers definitely didn’t forget about his dunking.
So often in professional sports a player loses his chance and never gets another one. Green is one of the lucky ones.
“I think my basketball IQ blows away what it was when I first came in the league,” Green said. “I figure if I had the same smarts that I have now earlier in my career, I’d probably still be in Boston. You live and learn and I learned off my mistakes.”
Green spent most of his time in New Jersey thanking the Nets for the opportunity. He said all the right things and backed them up on the court. He’s continuing that echo in Indiana.
“I feel like so many other teams overlooked me,” Green said. “I don’t know if they thought my character wasn’t going to be right or what. I’m going to prove I’m a better professional, I’m a lot better player and I’m all about winning. I’m not about individual statistics. When you win everybody looks good.”
That motto would fit in well with the Nets, the organization he can thank for his second chance.