Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Green: Making this shot count

Gerald Green didn’t come home when he signed with the Dallas Mavericks, but it’s pretty darn close. The Houston native has a number of relatives in the Metroplex, including a sister, so Green won’t be missing too many family barbeques.

But that’s not the reason the 22-year-old inked a one-year with the Mavs. Getting his career back on the right track is the only priority for the former first rounder who’s on his fourth team in less than one calendar year.

“This has made me a lot more hungry than I’ve been,” Green said after his first summer league practice. “It’s humbled me in a way and actually has put me in a position to restart, refresh my career and I think if I keep working hard and listen to the coaches here and listen to my teammates, I think I should be OK.”

Green was expected to be much more than OK when Boston used the 18th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft on a 6-foot-8 athletic freak out of Gulf Shores Academy in Houston. Just a year removed from high school, Green had become a valuable rotation player for the Celtics averaging 10.4 points per game.

He also won the Slam Dunk title during the 2007 All-Star Weekend. He was soaring in more ways than one. Then the breaks hit. Traded to Minnesota last summer as part of the Kevin Garnett blockbuster, Green took a backseat on a young Timberwolves team that seemingly needed players like Green.

He lasted only 29 games in Minnesota before being shipped to Houston. A trade to his hometown wasn’t the cure one might think. The Rockets, in desperate need for bigger bodies, cut Green during their playoff push.

Whispers of immaturity dogged Green. Wondering where his career was going, he began to sulk. He needed another chance. He was pretty sure he would get one, but also knew nothing was guaranteed.

“Yes, I did get down on myself and that’s what I shouldn’t have done,” Green said. “When I fall down I have to quickly get back up. The quicker I get up the quicker things can get better. One thing I’ve always known is that to have success there’s going to be failure.

“This is a humbling and learning experience for me. I’m just blessed to be in this situation, back in the league, and with a team like the Dallas Mavericks. I couldn’t be happier.”

Read the rest of this story and Q&A at mavs.com. Also check out the Summer League Central 2008 page for the roster, schedule and other info.

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