Post by Wang Xiaonan
June 4, 2013
Living in Beijing, two things consistently warm our hearts: Buy one, get the other half off McFlurry’s at McDonald’s and when we get emails from people who want to write for NiuBBall. We’re really not that tough to please.
The latter is how we got in touch with Wang Xiaonan, our website’s newest contributor. Xiaonan is way more legit than we’ll ever be: During the NBA season, he works in the States as Sohu’s beat writer for the 76ers and the Knicks. Beyond that, he also writes more fluently in English, which is his second language, than we do. He’s a sharp guy, to say the least.
To start off his NiuBBall career, Xiaonan gives us a piece on Gerald Green, who had a cup of coffee in China two years ago before eventually finding his way back to the NBA with the New Jersey Nets. As he writes, Once a feel good story of redemption, Green looks to have fallend back into his old ways…
The NBA Playoffs is entering its climax. LeBron is still insanely great; Paul George is still radiating charms; Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh are still doing what they are doing even though I still have no idea exactly what that is.
Instead, it is someone on the bench who got engrossed in deep thought — Gerald Green. Earlier this season, I talked with him earlier after a game at the Wells Fargo Center, one of a multitude of games where he logged zero minutes.
Green, of course, spent some time in the CBA two seasons ago. I asked him about his experience and whether or not he will go back to China again when his NBA career ends; all these cliches you can imagine for a NBA player who has ties with China. His response to my dummy cliches were quite telling about his disposition, which I postulated as utterly delusional.
“I will never come back, I am not going anywhere,” Green asserted. Then I reiterated my questions a few times attempting to lure out the truth, only to get some more irrelevant answers: He insisted on that he came back to the NBA because he wanted to.
Leafing through the Internet searching for Gerald Green’s story of him playing in China, I found no English website that really gives the most accurate account of his time there. The things that only a few American media know is that his stint in China could be defined as unimportant, maybe even a bit humiliating: He played four games, averaged 26.5 points and then got waived.
No need to double take. Waived. That pretty much sums up his career in China.
It seems like few U.S. media know about it because people assume, as a former NBA player, there is no other reason to leave China other than him wanting to leave on his own terms.
Gerald Green is one of the guys that causes you to rack your mind, yet you’re still unable to figure out why he is not at least a consistent rotation player. A freak of nature comparable with only a select group of players that can be counted on one hand, Green can shoot, handle the ball and defend instinctually All that despite not having a superb basketball IQ. But hey, his decision making isn’t any worse than JaVale McGee or Nick Young, the latter of whom would pass the ball to no one but the hoop.
Green is clearly aware that he can’t be a franchise player. But with all his enviable attributes, he has every reason to be a player better than where he stands in the league now. This is probably one of the very epidemic syndromes borne by many NBA high school players: They always hallucinate about “bigger and better,” but in the process create an unrealistic view of self. One of the other symptoms of this “delusional disorder” is that they can never rid themselves of the dominant high school self, when they naively draw parallels between high school competition and the NBA. Perhaps, David Stern sensed the rampancy of this syndrome and decided to close the door to the high school prodigies for good.
Last season, Green told Grantland.com that he forewent college thinking he was going to be a lottery pick. He turned out to be a 18th pick. He thought he was going to be the future of the franchise. Later, he repented his insubordination against Doc Rivers, who finally had to tell him he was part of a blockbuster deal for Kevin Garnett. Once with the Timberwolves, he thought he has enough leverage to force himself out of Minnesota, where he felt he was slumming. He thought Foshan, the team he played for in China, didn’t give him enough time. But that’s how the CBA works — teams don’t tolerate anything less than dominance from their foreign players.
His career is teeming with telltale anecdotes pointing to his overestimations of himself, all of which aberrantly causes him to puff up his confidence with the air of the least important quality in the NBA, athleticism.
Green has been different since he joined the Pacers. But his game is still too shaky to be depended on in a post-season series. Sometimes the delusional disorder would catch up to him, enabling him to jack up shots in a way that you might mistake him for someone on the top of the payroll. Despite Green’s feel-good story last year and the multi-year deal he netted as a result, his new head coach, Frank Vogel, has still voiced concern about Green’s disobedience. Just like every other coach whom he worked with.
Looking at Green sitting on the bench, I am thinking to myself: With a three-year guaranteed contract under his belt and all the right tools, can he finally live up to the expectation?