The Kings haven’t had many personalities like Donté Greene. Sure, there have been characters like Vlade Divac and Ron Artest, but Donté Greene is something different. Basically, Greene is a multimedia machine – the star of the Donté Greene show, Twitter and Youstream aficionado- all of which make him a fan favorite.
Where Greene has cultivated a following off the court, he has struggled with consistency on the floor. Greene is nothing short of an enigma. So much talent, flashes of brilliance, great size, million dollar smile, but …
Coming into training camp last season, Donté Greene and Omri Casspi were supposed to fight it out for the starting gig. Greene never even got off the ground, coming into camp at 260-pounds, a good 25-30 pounds heavier than his previous playing weight. After starting 50 games in his second season, Greene saw that number slashed to just 21 starts and an incredible 13 DNP-CDs. From possible starter to bench player and now, who knows what. After the Kings brought in small forwards John Salmons and rookie Tyler Honeycutt, they shipped out Casspi to clear up a little room, but Greene will still have to battle to earn minutes at a crowded position that also includes Francisco Garcia and even Tyreke Evans at times.
More after the jump…
Greene has been the most vocal of the Kings with regards to the lockout. We learned earlier this week that he has offers from multiple teams overseas and he has sold his home in Sacramento as a cost cutting measure. Like J.J. Hickson and Jason Thompson, Greene is in the final year of his rookie contract and is basically playing for his NBA life. He has the talent, the personality and the size to be a very good NBA player, but he is running out of time to put it all together.
The NBA is a tough world. At age 23, Donté is in a make or break season. It doesn’t seem fair, but that is the NBA. Plenty of players never make it to year four, plenty more never even get the chance to suit up in an NBA game. If Greene wants to avoid being a statistic, he needs to take advantage of this extended off-season and improve his ball handling and perimeter shooting. I had a chance to catch up with him early this summer and ask him a few questions before the lockout hit the NBA. Here is the most relevant question and his answer.
JH: Are you going to do something different this summer as opposed to what happened last summer?
DG: I’m not going to put on 15-pounds, that’s for sure. I’m just going to work, try and stay in shape. Nobody knows how long the lockout is going to last so guys are just really trying to stay on top of their game and for me, I’m going into the last year of my contract so I’ve definitely got to look to the future and prepare for that.
To quote Kings forward Jason Thompson, a close friend of Donté Greene, “We can only control what we can control.” It’s a simple statement, but I think it fits Donté perfectly. Although the Kings brought in John Salmons, Greene still has an opportunity to show up to camp – whenever that is, in the best physical shape of his young life. Hopefully Donté is ready for the challenge.