Oct 18, 2010, 9:10 PM EST
Donté Greene has only started two preseason games for the Kings thus far, put Paul Westphal has apparently already seen enough in Greene to deem him Sacramento’s starter at small forward for the coming season. Omri Casspi gives the Kings another strong alternative should Greene slump in his third season, and Sacramento also has Francisco Garcia and Antoine Wright waiting in the wings.
Greene matured nicely over the course of his second year with the Kings. He was a high-volume scorer at Syracuse, but in his rookie season, struggled with his open looks and shot selection, not to mention his defensive awareness. Greene’s sophomore campaign was far more successful, as he not only substantially increased his measurable efficiency (Greene’s effective field goal percentage jumped from .381 to .504), but has become a pretty useful defender. At 6’11”, Greene can pester all kinds of opponents, and his length has proven quite useful on the wing. Technically speaking, Greene isn’t the most proficient defender, but just as Kevin Durant has made strides defensively by learning to better utilize his height, Greene has done reasonably well when matched up with opponents’ top perimeter threats.
Combine that defensive aptitude with .377 shooting from outside and Greene becomes a pretty interesting piece for the Kings. He’s not exactly going to challenge Tyreke Evans or DeMarcus Cousins for supremacy, but should Greene not lose his focus on the defensive end and continue to pick his spots carefully on offense, he could be a fixture alongside those two for years to come.
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