When it comes to interaction with fans, charity work and overall awesomeness in the community, few can challenge the Kings’ Donte Greene, not only on the Kings roster but across the NBA. He’s really one of the NBA’s great guys, so it’s tough to see somebody so well liked struggle like he did this past season.
When drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008 (later traded to the Rockets and then Kings), Greene was a wild card on the court in terms of potential. With only a year at Syracuse, there wasn’t a great deal of return for NBA teams to scout but it’s difficult to not get excited by a freshman who put up nearly 18 points and 7 rebounds a game with a unique skill set that, at the time, resembled that of a young Rashard Lewis.
Unfortunately, that promise hasn’t developed as quickly as many had hoped.
During Greene’s sophomore campaign, the player many fell in love with at Syracuse began to show glimpses of that talent. With nearly 9 points and 3 rebounds a game to go along with a very respectable 44% field goal percentage and 37% three point percentage in addition to his solid defense, many felt Greene would be the Kings small forward of the future, but now four years into his tenure, many are wondering if he’ll ever suit up for the black and purple again.
With a logjam of below average small forwards this year, Greene (along with seemingly everybody else) was given every opportunity to run away with the job, something none of them could do until Terrance Williams took the job at season end. Greene’s numbers were down across the board from his respectable sophomore season, the numbers nearly identical to his sub-par third season. It’s no coincidence that Greene’s best season came when he, per 36 minutes, averaged the least amount of three point shots in his career – something he’s fallen in love, to a fault. Shooting 23% from the arc while taking five three point attempts a game? There’s a problem there. But there’s a bigger problem by not correcting the issue.
Statistically, from a defensive standpoint, Donte Greene maintained his level of play, though you could see a lack of discipline from the eye test. Despite playing a near career low in minutes (and lowest since his rookie year), his foul numbers were elevated as were his turnovers. Was it the lack of consistent playing time? The random starts followed by DNP’s? Was it the coaching changes or lack of leadership? Hard to tell, but whatever the case, Greene struggled to find comfort in his role, something he’s not alone in.
At only 24 (and just 24), there’s still time for Greene to mature and find himself as a respectable role player in the league, be it in Sacramento or elsewhere but like a handful of other Kings, he had to want it and make it happen. Hopefully given his expected cheap price tag, Greene will return to Sacramento and be the great teammates and community leader he is, while letting his game mature in the comfy confines of PBP, but for this past season, it’s a rough evaluation.
Season Grade: D+