Gerald Green: Forward Thinking
Gerald Green is not a guard.
This is the fact that Celtics fans and coaches need to embrace. Entering his third year, Gerald hasn't improved dramatically and even his supposed stregths on offense are often undercut by his weaknesses. Putting Gerald on the wing and expecting him to create for himself is a recipe for a turnover. Most drives end before they begin because Green is called for travelling when he tries to make his move. If he gets a step on his man, his sub-par dribbling either leads to a turnover or to the defense easily shifting over to stop him. Once his drives are cut-off, Gerald's unable to find a correct pass and the drive often ends with him forcing a bad pass or an awkward shot. For three years now, we've watched this and crossed our fingers, hoping Gerald will improve these flaws. After three years of mild improvement, I think it's time that we look to change our expectations of Gerald and deal with his shortcomings.
At 6'8, 206 pounds, Gerald is light for a forward but he really isn't all that far off from most 'tweener forwards like Hakim Warrick, Tyrus Thomas, Josh Howard, Thaddeus Young, Amir Johnson, Tayshaun Prince. Perhaps the best comparison is noneother than the misused Boris Diaw. Coming into the league, Boris Diaw was a 6'9, 201 pound 21 year old guard, which is the same age as Gerald is now, an inch taller and five pounds lighter. Boris filled out (a little too much last season) and has become a far more useful player as a forward than he ever was as a guard. While Gerald's hoops IQ may never be as good as Diaw's, his odds of succeeding may be far better if we move his focus away from acquiring guard skills and towards honing his current skills and improving his defense. I think refocusing his development on the defensive end will play to Gerald's actual growth. While his offense hasn't exactly improved much, his defense has shown some strides in the last year.
If Gerald bulked up a bit and worked on his strength, there's no reason he couldn't become a small forward whom we occassionally put on the quicker PF's in the NBA, the Bargnani/Krstic/Villenueva's of the world. Rather than hoping that Gerald will become the next T-Mac (or even Rashard Lewis), the Celtics would be better off trying to pattern his growth after Tayshaun Prince or trying to turn him into Boris Diaw with a jumpshot.