Erick Green was a big time scorer in college at Virginia Tech. He was a projected second round pick and the Utah Jazz snagged him at 46 then immediately traded him to Denver. After a fairly plain but solid Summer League with the Nuggets, Green spent a year in Italy. Then he came back to the Nuggets Summer League squad and Denver ended up giving him a nice little contract to round out their backcourt. Then the Ty Lawson trade came to pass and the nuggets decided to make space for Kostas Papanikolaou and Green was waived. Now he's free.
We've mentioned this feller around these here parts before. So it shouldn't be that big of a surprise to have his name pop up again. Erick is slippery with the pill and the jumper thumps, as evidenced by being third in scoring in the D-League so far this year with 27 a game. Something everyone can appreciate is that he scores efficiently by slipping and dipping all around the court. He's got a pretty raucous little rocker step that carries the defense away and he hesitates them into submission before bursting to the open space. He also possesses the dexterity to get to the rim and hang to alter his shot as needed. That combo of tricks certainly helps him get to line for his nearly six attempts a game (5.9).
If Green were just handed Jose Calderon's minutes outright for some stupid reason, it would probably take him 8 games or so to eclipse Jose's free throw attempts on the year. He's also a rushing tide over Jose's turtle when it comes to pushing the tempo. Whether he can do that to NBA determination will be the question. Check out some highlights of Erick dumping 40 on the Rio Grande Valley Vipers from this past Monday.
Much like Jose, it's the defensive end where Green isn't helping his cause. He's very slight of build and perhaps a bit inattentive or careless away from the ball. That would only be amplified against NBA talent. Long arms and quickness might be able to overcome some of his initial problems. It is worrisome to consider a guy who has less heft than Calderon, but a pop of creativity is the change that Green can offer without (comparatively) shortchanging the team. Now let's take a look at some junk he did at the end of last season up in the big league.
Tormenting Chris Paul is always cool, slicing up the Warriors is intriguing and taking the stupid Heat to task a little bit is quite commendable. It's the defensive end where his struggles pervade with his 112.1 Defensive Rating. YIKES! So while Green probably won't make any significant improvement to the team just by plugging him in, the different look he offers could prove valuable. Imagine if Jerian Grant could make shots but couldn't play defense and was smaller.
I like Green and the Knicks could use another little spritz of offensive ingenuity. He's allowed to sign and is an NBA caliber player. Does that check enough boxes?