Gerald Green was the top-ranked player in his high school class, a first round pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, the NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner in 2007 ... and then sort of disappeared off of the face of the earth as he struggled to find playing time from the end of the bench with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. The 26-year-old swingman is working his way back toward relevancy, however, while playing in the NBA Development League for the Los Angelels Lakers' D-League team, the L.A. D-Fenders.
It couldn't have been easy to decide to try and change the perception of his being a freak athlete with no discernible basketball IQ to speak of while swallowing his pride and joining the Eric Musselman coached D-Fenders, but it seems there might be a happy ending in the not-so-distant future.
The NBA was able to begin offering 10-day contracts on Monday and, as if on cue, Green busted out the big guns in the D-Fenders game that evening. The NBA veteran hit eight of his 11 shots from beyond the three-point arc en route to 35 points and seven rebounds in Los Angeles's victory over the visiting Erie BayHawks.
Highlights of the game are embedded below (Turn up the volume at about the one minute mark to hear the best part as the always-excellent Eric Rothman mentions Green's "ridiculous upside").
Green's performance on Monday night capped off what has been an epic five-game performance for the former high school phenom. He's already averaging a solid 18.6 points per game on the season, but his last-five averages are mind-blowing: 25.0 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, 55 percent from the field and 61 percent from three-point land (17-of-28) while turning the ball over a measly 2.6 times per game -- an important statistic for a noted maker of poor decisions.
Even prior to Monday's performance, however, he was on the radars of NBA scouts as proven by my article over at SB Nation regarding the D-League's top call-up candidates:
Scout's Take: "He definitely opened some eyes at the D-League Showcase. There's no questioning his NBA athleticism and he has the length to get his shot off whenever he wants, but he's a streaky shooter and doesn't have a good reputation when it comes to his basketball IQ."
It shouldn't be long until Green gets another opportunity -- especially considering that "streaky shooter" label should currently be working in his favor -- as long as someone believes he can keep it up for at least a 10-day contract, anyway.