Monday, June 3, 2013

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: Gerald Green

Each week at Volume Shooters, we highlight an NBA player, past or present, who doesn't spend much time in the spotlight but is nonetheless a valuable cog in his team's quest for the championship. Obscure players tend to be on obscure teams, but with the playoffs going on, we tried to pick somebody out from one of the title contenders. Here's this week's edition:

During the Pacers' run this postseason, one of their weak points has been a complete lack of bench production. Bench production is obviously not as important in the postseason as it is for a whole 82 game schedule, but when all 5 of your starters are averaging more than 35 minutes per game and no bench player averages more than 17, it is pretty clear you have a lack of balance on your roster. Surprisingly, Frank Vogel seems to be turning to players with limited offensive skills (hello, Sam Young) over more dynamic options available on the bench. It is obviously important to keep sound defensive players on the floor against the likes of Lebron James, but rather than keep throwing Sam Young out there for 10 minutes a game, you have to think the fans would prefer to see this guy:

The photo is a bit blurry, but yes, that's Gerald Green, and yes that is a 10-foot rim which HE IS TRYING TO AVOID BANGING HIS CHIN ON. HIS CHIN. Since he's played less than half of the games in this postseason, seems like a great candidate for this week's column!

Country of Origin: Ye olde US of A - specifically, Houston, Texas.

Vitals: Somehow, Green is listed at 6'8". When I heard this, I was very surprised - Green always seems like a smaller player when he is on the court - but three different sources all list Green at 6'8". This does, however, explain some of Green's most notable skill (destroying rims with the fury of a thousand suns), which we'll cover in more depth later on. Oh, and he's 200 pounds.

Position: SF/SG

Nickname: While in Dallas, his nickname was the extremely mundane "G-Money." D+. Ian Eagle supposedly gave him the nickname "The Green Light," however, which is a lot better.

Career Arc: Green has had a fairly interesting and unique career. Starting in high school, Green put himself on the map by making the McDonald's All-American team in 2005, where he won the slam dunk contest, hilariously defeating Josh McRoberts in the finals. Don't believe me? Here's the video. (also featuring powerful dunks by Jon Brockman. No idea how these participants were chosen.)

Green was drafted 18th overall by the Celtics, but struggled to stick in the league as a rookie, bouncing up and down (no pun intended) between the NBA and the D-League. The next season he improved slightly, averaging over 10 points per game and winning the 2007 slam dunk contest. He was then involved in the Kevin Garnett blockbuster trade that off-season, heading to Minnesota where he basically languished on the end of the bench all season. After brief stints with the Rockets and Mavs, Green headed to Russian powerhouse PBC Lokomotiv-Kuban (notable current player: former Florida shooting guard Nick Calathes!!!.....ok so maybe it is not exactly a powerhouse club), where he played one season before being released. After a few more stints abroad, he ended up back in the states, where he signed first with the Nets before settling a contract with Indiana this season. "Well traveled" doesn't even begin to describe it in this case.

Buck-est Green Mixtape Available on YouTube: Now we get to the good stuff! As with any notable dunkers, there are some epic highlight tapes of Green on YouTube. Amongst the good examples:

Wow. I can't think of a player that gets his head above the rim more frequently than Green. If somebody who knew nothing about basketball watched that first video, he might think Gerald Green is the best player in NBA history.

Notable Moments in his NBA Career: Probably this dunk:

Sweet Jesus.

Will he ever make the big time? Despite being very good at forcefully throwing the ball into the basket, Green is not an efficient shooter (41.8% for his career), and is probably destined to ride the pine for most of the rest of his career. But at least he will be remembered for a number of basketball trivia bits: winner of the only slam dunk contest to ever feature Josh McRoberts in a mullet, most consecutive one-year contracts, last NBA draft class to feature high school students, most candles ever blown out in cupcakes above the rim, most blatant robbing in slam dunk contest voting...the list goes on and on. At worst, Green makes nearly impossible feats of athleticism look routine on a nightly basis. Not the worst legacy in the world.

Please submit comments, questions, and recommendations for next week's Obscure NBA Player to

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