- Gerald Green was unemployed for the first two-and-a-half months of the season, practicing by shooting in his driveway.
- The Houston Rockets signed Green to an unguaranteed contract, and he’s responded with a remarkable scoring outburst.
- Green has played so well that the Rockets guaranteed his contract for the remainder of the season after just five games.
In the absence of James Harden, out several weeks with strained calf, the Houston Rockets have found an unlikely player to pick up the scoring slack.
Last week the Rockets signed 31-year-old journeyman Gerald Green to an unguaranteed contract, hoping to fill some of the offensive void left by Harden on the wing.
What they’ve gotten has been a remarkable string of scoring outburts from Green, who has played on eight different teams since being drafted out of high school in 2005. Throwing out a scoreless first game with the Rockets, through the last four games, Green is scoring 21 points per game on 58% shooting, 60% from three.
Green has bounced around the NBA and was cut by the Milwaukee Bucks at the end of training camp. After that, he was unemployed.
“No team wanted me,” Green told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “No overseas team. Not even a D-League team. So this is the only team that took a chance on me. For me, I’m just so overwhelmed and excited about the opportunity.”
Green, a Houston native, added, “All I’ve been doing is shooting in my driveway and playing one-on-one with my Rottweiler.”
Green has been known as a high-flyer and one of the most explosive athletes in the league during his career, but it’s been his outside shooting that has jived with the three-point happy Rockets. On Thursday, in a 124-114 loss to the Golden State Warriors, Green kept the team afloat, launching 15 threes and canning eight of them for 29 points.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 5, 2018
“Thank goodness we got him,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s been really good. He’s not just good. It’s not like, ‘Oh, this is nice.’ He’s been really good.”
Good enough that the Rockets guaranteed Green’s contract the rest of the season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Green has embraced the opportunity, even getting his hair braided with the Rockets logo, a procedure that TNT revealed on Thursday takes two hours.
— NBA (@NBA) December 31, 2017
“For me, what I did was just kept having faith in myself. Obviously, once it gets to be November and December and you still don’t get no calls, you either lay down or you fight,” Green told ESPN. “So I just continued to fight. God blessed me with this opportunity. Now I’ve just got to try to take advantage of it the best way that I can.