Last Friday, inside The Post Hotel in Houston, Gerald Green said his top goal for the year is to lead all reserves in three-point field goals made. For Green, it’s a goal that was inspired by a disappointing end to the season last spring.
The last time Green took the court in a meaningful game, he failed to show up when his team needed his spark the most. In 12 minutes, Green scored 6 points while shooting 2-for-9 from the field — as the Houston Rockets suffered another postseason elimination at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.
Green’s disastrous performance in Game 6 was a complete summary of his struggles during the 2019 playoffs. With his minutes drastically cut from the regular season (8.8 MPG), he was a non-factor for the Rockets, averaging 3.5 points while shooting 30.0% from the field, and 35% from deep.
Although he does not have the responsibility to carry the weight of the franchise on his shoulders, Green’s performance does impact the Rockets’ chances of winning a title. Since joining the team in December of 2017, the Houston native has established himself as a significant piece to the Rockets’ success the past two seasons.
While averaging 10.3 points on 40.3% shooting from the field, Green has proven the ability to carry the scoring load of the second unit — and it is what separates him from the rest of the Rockets’ reserves.
Green’s athletic capability to score in transition gives him an advantage in the Rockets’ attempt to play at a faster pace, but it’s his ability to score from the outside that makes him a vital member within Houston’s system. Unfortunately, Green’s greatest attribute to the team is also his most vulnerable.
Last season, he shot 35.4% from behind the arc while averaging 9.2 points per game. As one of the best three-point shooters on the roster, he could have ended the year with a higher shooting percentage, but the number of ill-advised shot attempts causes Green’s on-court production to become streaky at times.
An enormous factor for Green’s inconsistent shooting is mainly due to his inability to score off dribble pulls.
According to NBA.com Advance Stats, last season Green shot 37.5% from the field on dribble pull-ups, and 26.7% from deep. In comparison to his catch-and-shoot, there was a huge improvement in his shooting —where the 6’7” shooting guard shot 57.1% from the inside and 38.6% from deep.
In order for Green to achieve his personal goal this season, perhaps it would be in his best interest to model his game after Ray Allen’s catch-and-shoot during the twilight of his career.
Doing the last few years of Allen’s career, the Hall-of-Fame shooting guard rarely put the ball down before attempting a shot, especially during his time playing with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in South Beach. Allen had so many catch-and-shoot opportunities playing with the two All-Stars due to their ability to collapse their opponents’ defense.
Similar to Allen, Green should use this same approach heading into the new season playing alongside James Harden and Russell Westbrook —as they both will create multiple open looks for Green outside of the perimeter.
The less time Green spends putting the ball on the floor, the better. It may sound a little harsh, but it will help him become more of a consistent shooter in 2020. And with the Rockets’ expectations at its highest in nearly 20 years, Green will only add additional fuel to what could be the most dangerous offense in the league.
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