The Resurrection of Gerald Green

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There is a moment in every Gerald Green game where he’s eased off his man to go help on another. It’s typically a guy posting up, occupied with his immediate defender, then Green comes flying into the screen, his feet around waist level with everyone else. And sometimes he spikes to back to the wood below and sometimes he misses, but even in the misses there is a smooth kind of glide to the proceedings. It’s like he’s surfing or something.

Green has trampoline spring. He jumps so high it’s confusing. It’s these intense spring loaded jumps that take him up to the rim with an ease previously reserved for birds. His jumping isn’t exactly graceful, but it’s not angry, either. It rests in that medium place. He jumps so high so suddenly with such effortlessness it’s almost as though he’s playing in water, carving out his place near the rim, knowing he’ll get there, in absolutely no hurry. Like every dunk he completes has already been converted into slow-motion the first time he attempts it.

He celebrates so rarely that it would seem he’s bored by his own athleticism, that he’s been living with those abilities for so long they’re just part of everyday life and it’s Tuesday night and nobody is in front of me on the break so I guess it’s time for me to windmill this. If he dunks on someone there might be a bit of a yell, a fist to chest type “I’m in here”, but even those are subdued. It’s like his face is only comfortable in neutral or when he’s chewing gum.

Green’s performing CPR on his career this season. A journeyman since he stepped into the league in 2005 as the 18th overall pick by the Celtics, he’s now on his eighth team in six years. For the ’09-10 and ’10-11 seasons he wasn’t even in the league, playing pro ball in Russia. But now, it would seem, he’s finding his footing and his place in this free flowing offense of Hornacek’s. He’s having by far the best season of his career, pulling in Per36 numbers of 17.5 PPG, 3.9RPG, and 2.0 APG.

Maybe more than any other guy in the league — with the possible exception of LeBron — when he gets on the break, you can bet whatever happens next will be on YouTube within the next couple hours. He’s a bend at the elbows type guy, having jumped so high at times that when he catches an oop it’s not altogether necessary to extend his arms all the way to reach the rim. He finishes some dunks like he’s got the arms of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It’s like he’s made of rubber, like his legs are elastic super responsive sponges that absorb all the energy in the air around them and then squeeze it all out and he launches himself into orbit. He’s a damn space ranger.

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