A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

How Gerald Green’s flaws represents the different way I judge talent

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English: Gerald Green Lokomotiv-Kuban

English: Gerald Green Lokomotiv-Kuban (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At a certain point in high school, Gerald Green was pegged as one of the next great superstar talents and a strong contender to go 1st overall. Due to concerns about being a player who didn’t get it and limiting his workouts after neglecting college to declare immediately, he was selected 18th overall out of high school. But nobody doubted his talent, just whether he’d develop the skills and mentality to use it. After bombing out of the NBA, he returned last season to decent productivity with the Nets, leading some to believe the new mature version of Green could reach his talent level in the NBA. The Pacers gave him a long term contract and he’s once again reverted to the sub-NBA caliber player he had been in his original stint.

Why do I care about Gerald Green? Because he represents two of the ways I grade talent differently than most. Here are the two “inefficiencies” I see in regards to why Gerald Green’s talent is overrated:

#1 – The difference between physical talent and physically impacting the game

Gerald Green is a fantastic athlete, with the Dunk Contest being the near highlight of his career. He has amazing vertical explosiveness and lift. The main reason Green got called a superstar in the making in high school is his athleticism for a 2 guard.

Here’s the problem: Because of a lack of ball-handling, Green has never been much of a “slasher”. Instead, he is a player that almost strictly takes jumpshots. When a perimeter player is relegated to jumpshots, I consider him to not be physically impacting the game. The players who impose speed and power on the opponents by going to the basket, physically impact the game. Thus in regards to talent, Green is given credit for his athleticism, but his lack of on ball/slashing skills, means that he can’t use that athleticism effectively. As a whole I would consider Green a weak physical impact talent.

#2 – Feel for the Game

Green has a poor feel for the game. He often looks robotic, stiff or out of control. He does not have natural instincts or smoothness to his game. He plays like a shooting guard version of Anthony Randolph or Javale McGee. One can make the case that he’s among the most obvious examples and prototypes for perimeter players with poor feel for the game.

If both these weaknesses are accepted it’s easy to see Green is not a very talented NBA player. He lacks the talents to physically impose himself on the game and he has a very week feel and instinctual talent base. His closest thing to a strength is a 3 point shot as well as the defensive potential his physical tools gave him. With a better attitude perhaps he could’ve stuck as a rotation player in the league, but in my opinion he has always been too flawed to have more than a limited role in the NBA.

Written by jr.

February 12, 2013 at 10:39 am

Posted in Basketball, NBA Draft

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. What’s your 33 point breakdown for Eric Bledsoe?


    February 20, 2013 at 10:17 am

    • I wrote a bit on Bledsoe here http://asubstituteforwar.com/2013/02/02/two-breakout-players-for-whom-im-not-drinking-the-kool-aid-eric-bledsoe-and-tristan-thompson/ Lukewarm on him. One of the league’s standouts at physically impacting the game, but below average skill and feel for him. Something like 9-10 physical impact, 2-3 skill impact, 2-3 feel for the game, which adds up to a fairly average number overall. He needs to take a great leap forward as a shooter to approach blue chip status. My career comp for him is Devin Harris, who had a similar supersub situation before getting his own team like Bledsoe will. Harris was once buck nasty penetrating, but not impressive skill or feel. While he had his big year, I’m of the opinion that it was an aberration before teams adjusted, and the Harris we’ve seen since is closer to his real talent.


      February 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm

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