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2010-11 Season in Review: Willie Green
By: Calder Hynes, Hornets.com
June 27, 2011

Hornets.com continues its look back at the 2010-11 season with player-by-player analysis of the team:

WHAT HAPPENED:

After being acquired by the Hornets just days before the start of training camp from Philadelphia (along with Jason Smith) on Sept. 23, there would have been many reasons to justify a down year for Green: for the first time in his career he had to adapt to an entirely new city, a cast of new teammates and an unfamiliar coaching staff. However, in his eighth NBA season, the experienced pro, acquired to provide veteran leadership and depth at the wing position, delivered just that.

Green posted solid averages of 8.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 77 games this season, and was even better in his 13 starts, upping his numbers across the board to 12.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists while shooting 48.6 percent from the floor. It was also Greens most efficient offensive year of his career (excluding 2005-06 when he only appeared in 10 games) as he shot a career-best 34.8 percent from beyond the arc with 54 makes (a career high), and 44.3 percent overall from the field, good for his second-best average in eight seasons.

Although his 13 starts were the fewest in a season since his injury-plagued 2005-06 campaign, Green still managed to lead the team in scoring four times, hit double figures in 31 games and surpassed the 20-point mark on three occasions.

Greens value as a player extended beyond measurable statistics as well, as he offered intangibles in the locker room and a gritty presence on the defensive end of the court.

Hes a pros pro, said head coach Monty Williams of what Green brings to the team. He allows me to coach him. Sometimes, I coach through Willie When he steps into the game, he makes big plays. One game he guarded LeBron. The game before that he guarded Kevin Martin. Last night he guarded Jason Terry. He guards the toughest guys every night.

Williams may have been the person most familiar to Green when he joined the Hornets in late September, as the two were in training camp with the 76ers prior to the 2003-04 season, although they were at opposite ends of the career spectrum: Green an incoming rookie, and Williams ultimately deciding to retire before the season began.

Willie knows hes a guy that I trust. He plays the way I played. He plays with that same edge, we have a bit of a kindred spirit. He was a rookie when I retired. He watched me go through a rough time. I tried to teach him as much as I could back when he was a rookie.

That trust and familiarity led Williams to insert Green in the starting lineup in place of an ineffective Marco Belinelli for 10 games between Feb. 9 and March 2, and Green rewarded his coachs decision, posting double figures seven times during that span, including two 24-point outbursts on the road in Orlando and Portland.

The durability and veteran leadership that Green brought this season should not be overlooked either. He did not miss any games due to injury or illness (was only absent for five late-December contests as the result of a family tragedy) and was tied with David West for the most years of NBA experience (seven seasons) coming into this season.

Asked to summarize his year, the ever-humble Green didnt touch on any of his highlights or accolades.

It was a blessing to have an opportunity to play basketball. Its always a privilege.

BEST GAME:

Greens 15-point fourth quarter (tied for the second-most points by a Hornets player in a quarter this season) to ice the Clippers at the New Orleans Arena on Nov. 9, leading the Hornets to a 101-82 victory, is tough to top, but fans will undoubtedly most remember Greens historic performance late in the season against the Suns.

On April 8, with only three games remaining in the regular season and the Hornets fighting for playoff position, Green almost singlehandedly ensured there would be no hangover from the postseason-clinching win over the Rockets two days earlier. Green netted 31 points, his season high and the fifth most points scored off the bench in franchise history, but the way in which the points were accrued is what set this night apart.

After hitting his first seven shots of the game, Green began the fourth quarter by connecting on five more consecutive field goals including three triples with each additional make sending the nearly 15,000 fans at the Hive along with the entire Hornets bench into an increasing frenzy. When all was said and done, the performance set the franchise mark for consecutive field goals made in a game (12) and Green tied his career high with five three-pointers made en route to a 109-97 win.

Though momentous, Greens humility again surfaced when describing his performance: The basket did get a little bigger. I hit some shots in the first half. I just kept it going; my teammates were just looking for me and I got a few shots to go down. I did not know (the streak) was going, but its a good streak to have.

WHAT'S NEXT:

Green is an unrestricted free agent, meaning the Hornets have no control over his rights and he is free to sign with any team.


ADDITIONAL 2010-11 SEASON IN REVIEWS
DAVID WEST AARON GRAY EMEKA OKAFOR
QUINCY PONDEXTER CARL LANDRY CHRIS PAUL
JARRETT JACK JASON SMITH TREVOR ARIZA
MARCO BELINELLI WILLIE GREEN




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