Willie Green: High Praise
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com
A late-summer trade acquisition from the Philadelphia 76ers, Willie Green may not be a familiar name among casual NBA fans, but if you ask around the Hornets locker room, several players will tell you all you need to know about the 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard.
Hes a solid pro, so we know what were getting with him, power forward David West said. Willies been a contributor ever since hes been in the NBA. Hes big and solid on defense. Hes a strong guy.
Greens physical traits are something Chris Paul has experienced first-hand throughout Pauls pro career. During many Hornets-76ers matchups over the past several years, Philadelphias coaching staff elected to have Green guard Paul one-on-one, a testament to the Detroit natives defensive ability.
Willie brings another aggressive mindset, Paul complimented. Ive always respected Willies game, because he usually guarded me whenever Ive played against Philadelphia. Hes a competitor. There are some guys in the league, when you look into their eyes, you can almost see that fear, so they dont (tightly) guard you or really get after you. But with Willie, he always accepted the challenge. And it was the same thing on the other end I knew I always had to be ready to defend him, because he was going to come back at me.
Although you might expect Green to be relieved to no longer have to figure out how to slow down the three-time All-Star, he actually has relished the chance to defend elite opponents.
I wanted to guard (Paul), the 29-year-old Green said. I like guarding the best players, and hes one of them. He just weaves in and out of those pick-and-rolls, and hes tough to stop.
During his Philadelphia tenure, Green a starter in exactly half of his 422 career games, with a scoring average of 9.4 points teamed up with several high-caliber backcourt players, including Allen Iverson and Andre Miller. Hes looking forward to joining forces with another accomplished guard in New Orleans.
Im so excited about it, said Green, who starred in college at Detroit Mercy. (Paul) is like the Isiah Thomas of this era. Hes one of those tough guys. Hes a competitor who wants to win.
Sounds a lot like how Greens new Hornets teammates describe him.
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