Donte Greene — The Defender?
Here is Elie’s quote followed by my quick thoughts:
“That’s going to be some work. This is my first real dose of Donte. He’s still a young player and that’s his thing. A lot of young players have got to understand offense is not going to get you on the court every time. Sometimes it’s doing the little things. Playing defense, making hustle plays and that’s how I got on the court. I got out there and Rudy T (former Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich) would tell me ‘Mario, go out there and shut this guy down’ and I had no problem doing that. And Donte’s got to understand sometimes it’s not going to be offense. We may need you to guard (Shawn) Marion, an athletic three. I think he has the capability of doing it. It’s just up to him, the willingness to do it.”
Alright, this seems like kind of a stretch to me when talking about the near future of Donte as a player.
From what I saw in Vegas, he does seem like a much more dedicated defender. He’s the perfect amount of size, length and athleticism to excel at the defensive end of the court if he wants to. He not only was a better shot blocker in the summer than he showed his rookie year but he was a pretty decent defensive rebounder as well.
But he still had trouble guarding guys like DaJuan Summers and Anthony Randolph when switched out on them and even Joe Alexander got him for a couple of baskets. Looking at last season’s numbers, DG had an atrocious defensive rating of 116 compared to his 84 offensive rating. Now, those numbers are definitely skewed because Greene received inconsistent minutes, played on one of the worst defensive teams this franchise has ever employed and was a rookie forward that couldn’t even legally drink for half the season.
Like anything (and this is what Elie seemed to stress the most in my opinion), defense is a choice of effort, especially with a guy like Donte. He has all of the physical tools to do whatever he wants to do on both sides of the court. Hopefully for the Kings, he makes that choice night in and night out.