Now we get to see if Donte Greene can handle the opportunity and responsibility of being the Sacramento Kings’ starting small forward.
Greene, 22, can begin to legitimately establish the direction of his NBA career. He has the opportunity to show what type of player he wants to become.
At 6-foot-11 and what he said last week was approximately 245 pounds, Greene has a heretofore untapped world of athleticism, talent and potential.
His ability to add constant focus, desire, intensity and work ethic to the package will determine how quickly he can turn potential into production.
Greene is capable of becoming an essential and highly valuable piece of any ascent the Kings can make in the upcoming season and beyond.
Greene’s ability to defend different styles of players at small forward and shooting guard as well as some power forwards can make him a special and unique commodity. His speed, quickness and jumping ability afford him the option of being a tremendous weak-side defender with the understanding of intelligent and timely rotations.
Greene’s physical abilities combined with increased experience and understanding of the game affords him the opportunity to carve a niche on the team and in the league. And that’s before his offensive skills and talents are discussed.
He has to learn how those who excel in the NBA do so with mental toughness and discipline.
Moreover, they don’t do it once a week. Consistency is what evolves into excellence. Consider, back in the day, at his age, he’d just be coming out of college, presumably a more finished product talent-wise and from a maturity perspective.
Greene’s offensive game currently consists of making perimeter shots, running the floor and converting fast-break opportunities.
He has to become more productive in half-court possessions. Greene has to learn how to use the threat of his long-range shooting to get the basket where his athleticism can be utilized.
He has to learn how to get into the lane and take advantage of smaller and less athletic defenders. Playing off Tyreke Evans is a must since the second-year guard often will have the ball.
Greene, armed with this starting position, has to understand how to best indoctrinate his skills into the team concept at each end of the floor. He must recognize growth is a process that will not always transcend into immediate results, particularly on an individual statistical pace.
Greene, like the rest of his young teammates, must judge growth by improved team defense, increasingly productive and efficient team offense and victories. Most NBA veterans will speak to the desire of young players being more focused getting their games off more than a team-wide focus.
By subjugating any individual goals and making the team his primary focus, Greene can help turn talk of making the playoffs into more than just conversation.
However, he’s got to recognize how becoming a great free-throw shooter, more aggressive rebounder and defender and doing the little things that help games are more valuable than the occasional highlight dunk.