Just a few days ago, during one of my aimless journeys through the back roads of the internet, I came across this article from a blog called The Point Forward, part of SI.com. It caught my eye because the bold lettering included the name “Gerald Green.” While I don’t agree with the author’s sentiment on Green’s shot selection (he shoots 50%—47% from mid-range—for the Nets. Who do you figure Avery wants shooting when Deron Williams sits down?), I think he makes an interesting point about the anticipation that Gerald generates.
But, wow, is this guy fun to watch. He’s already reached the Blake Griffin point at which crowds stand/murmur in anticipation of a possible dunk even as Green crosses mid-court on a fast break.
The NBA is chock-full of incredible athletes, but not many who posses enough dunking ability to captivate an audience like Blake Griffin and Gerald Green. Think back to last season, when you loved Blake Griffin. The Clippers were a terrible team, yet they had you watching their games, didn’t they? Not because you gave a flying f@ck about the Clippers, but simply because you wanted to witness Griffin’s next Mozgov.
Gerald Green hasn’t exactly drawn the numbers that Blake did during his spectacular rookie season. The Izod Center remains sparsely populated, and I don’t imagine that the Nets are a top priority of most folks with a League Pass account. The difference between Griffin and Green is clear: one was a first-overall pick and the other was a D-League call up. Obviously, we’ve got two incomparable levels of hype here. That being said, Green has created a unique kind of underground buzz. He’s become to hardcore NBA fans what some big-word-usin’ rapper is to a group of backpackers. He’s become the new, unconventional, I’m-smarter-than-you answer to “who’s the nastiest dunker in the NBA?”
I don’t want to make it seem as if Gerald may not be the NBA’s sultan of smash. He’s a dunk contest champion and a severe in-game threat. All I’m saying is that he doesn’t have that household-name status. But, like I said, he does come with a growing cult following, and he’s got the imaginations of those who watch him running wild every time it looks as if he may be about to takeoff. In this regard, he’s put himself amongst elite company.
Being a player who will probably peak around 12-15 PPG, Green is very different from Blake Griffin. However, given an informed audience, the two are quite comparable when it comes to the build up created by the simple bending of knees. They’re going to have the venue buzzing before they even leave the floor, and, make or miss, they impress after taking flight. In this sense, the two of them have become peers in a current class of their own.
Personally, I’m more intrigued by Green than I am by Griffin… at least for the time being. I don’t watch every Clipper game anymore, but I follow the play-by-play during Nets games and flip back and forth as Gerald checks in and out. I’ll be damned if I miss the next alley-oop windmill.
Truth be told, that play was so unique even Gerald Green will probably fail to replicate it. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time hoping, though. Even Gerald’s run-of-the-mill slam dunk is one worth witnessing, as he demonstrated last night in a blowout victory over the Washington Wizards.
One of these days, someone is going to find themselves at the end of a lane like that and fail to commit a foul hard enough. One of these days was almost yesterday, and someone nearly became Brian Cook.
Pause that video at :16, :17, and :18. Hol. E. Sh!t. Here’s the remainder of New Jersey’s schedule.