Gerald Green Should be Back in Rockets Rotation

By Matthew Cardenas on January 28, 2018
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Since Gerald Green signed with the Rockets on December 28th, he has been one of the more fun players to watch. In 10 of the 15 games he has been with the team, Green has scored in double figures. He is shooting 41 percent from three this season, which is a career high. This was significant as he was signed while Luc Mbah a Moute and James Harden were sidelined with injuries.

However, a third of those games have not been friendly to Green. He has played a combined four minutes in all five games as the Rockets have reached full strength for the first time in nearly a month. During Green's hot streak, questions arose as to what was going to happen when this team, notably Mbah a Moute, would be at full health.

Head Coach Mike D'Antoni is known for sticking to an eight or nine man rotation in the regular season. However, when Green was on the floor, it was clear he was a positive. His athleticism and ability to shoot from the perimeter made him a perfect fit with this Rockets team. While he's not a great defender, his athleticism and energy can somewhat make up for it. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Ryan Anderson, who Green should start taking minutes from.

The last two months have been some of the worst basketball Anderson has played since signing with the Rockets in the summer of 2016. In these two months, he has not averaged more than 8.5 PPG or shot above 32 percent from three. In the month of November, he averaged 12.9 PPG while shooting 43 percent from three. That is the Anderson we expect to see, especially working in the pick and pop with Chris Paul. There was a stretch where Anderson would almost never miss on shots when assisted by Paul.

If Anderson is not hitting three's, we see how his value really takes a hit. He is a liability on the defensive end and doesn't provide much else on the offensive end. While he's an average rebounder for his position, that's all there really is.

Nobody is suggesting the Rockets should trade Anderson or anything drastic. Sure, his contract is not the greatest, but we should not act like he is an overall bad player. We knew his play was going to improve when Paul came to Houston and we saw it happen for the first two months of the season. This is a slump you hope he can get out of. The Rockets are a different team when he is playing well.

His shooting spreads the floor and makes it easier for Paul and Harden to either drive and finish or work in the PnR with Clint Capela. If Anderson's play does not improve, though, what happens then? While you put trust in your players to get out of slumps, you cannot wait around forever. This is a slump that has gone on for 20+ games. The good nights are still there, but becoming more and more rare.

Now, back to Green.

I'm also not suggesting that Green take all of Anderson's minutes and replace him in the rotation. D'Antoni should be more open to utilizing Green, though. Even with the team at full health, there is still some room for Green to see the floor. To have that instant offense off the bench adds more fire to the 2nd unit when led by Paul and Eric Gordon. There are also times where Green would be a better fit on the floor instead of Anderson, especially when the Rockets go small.

Time will tell to see what happens with Green. It is clear he is a nice fit with this team and will find a way to produce. It is likely he will eventually cool down from the hot streak, but that does not mean he will completely fall off. We will have to see if D'Antoni will decide to move to a 10-man rotation. The Rockets are just that deep of a team.

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