Orien Greene has once again emerged as an NBADL starter with the Reno Bighorns. His veteran know-how and experience may soon make the 31 year old a more likely option for NBA playoff contenders.
The point guard could seen donning an L.A. D-Fenders jersey for much of the past two seasons up until recently. Though he served as floor general during his team's impressive run to the NBADL Finals last year, he had began to see his minutes decrease a bit this season, only starting 17 out of 29 contests with the D-Fenders.
With Courtney Fortson also in town and quickly emerging as one of the top prized prospects the D-League has to offer, perhaps having a player of Greene's caliber at an already talented position made him more expendable for L.A. The team traded him away with fellow NBA journeyman Ronald Dupree, acquiring former Knicks center Jerome Jordan to pair up with Fortson for a formidable pick and roll duo.
Often when one door closes, another one soon opens. That's exactly the type of situation Greene finds himself in with his new squad.
With Walker Russell Jr. currently sidelined by an injury, Greene has been able to step in as full-time starting point guard for the Bighorns. Starting all five games of his games for Reno so far, the 31 year old has averaged 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.8 steals.
While none of these statistics are terribly flashy, they are still relatively consistent with the numbers Greene put up for the D-Fenders during the team's run to The Finals. What you see with Greene is what you get. His veteran know-how and plethora of experience gives him credibility, making it easy for a coaching staff to trust him with the ball in his hands. The ability to be trusted is undoubtedly something every team craves in a desired point guard.
Of course, Greene can run the floor, but as his experience with Fortson and other fellow guards who thrive by running the floor notes, Greene can play pretty well off the ball also. What's more, he's more than capable of keeping up with his opponents on defense. The vet can keep the pace or even chase his competition down to pester them and come up with a key steal or two.
Greene may not pour in the points or rack up the assists too often, but having him on the court is a plus for any team because of his ability to keep them calm and set the tone on either side of the floor. He's a veteran who knows how to play the game the right way, and thus, can seamlessly fit into any given situation.
At this point in the season, NBA teams enjoy taking gambles on players with 10-day contracts. An open roster spot or two usually means a big league team can either roll the dice and explore the potential of a promising prospect who catches their eye, or rather sign one of those guys to fill a void opened up by existing injury on the squad.
With other young guns catching the eyes of NBA teams at this point, Greene's most opportune time at an NBA call-up may not be this very moment. That said, as squads inch closer and closer to the playoffs, some may look to shore up their respective depth charts to erase any holes at the last minute. Will they want to take a chance on a more unproven player then?
Not quite. Bringing a veteran like Greene in just a couple weeks after the D-League season concludes on a 10-day contract or two would give an NBA team some time to acclimate him into their season before the postseason begins. As previously noted, what you see is what you get with Greene. Whether it be to give a team a boost on the hardwood or in practice, he could be a nice veteran fit for any playoff contender looking for some postseason point guard insurance.
Last season, a couple of teams found themselves in similar situations (not necessarily at point guard) and looked to the D-League to add a contributor in time for the playoffs. It is then that Greene may be more likely to see his green light appear.