The Phoenix Suns have gotten off to a surprising start to begin the 2013 season, and one of the players whose helped them achieve the early success is Gerald Green.
Green, who came over in an offseason trade with the Indiana Pacers, is averaging 13.2 points so far, highlighted by his 18 points on 6-of-11 from three-point range against the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday.
General manager Ryan McDonough was part of the Boston Celtics' front office when the team drafted Green out of high school in 2005, and he said this isn't the same player they saw back then.
"Gerald's much better than the player I saw in Boston," McDonough told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo. "The guy we had in Boston was an 18 or 19-year-old guy, he was still trying to figure it out."
McDonough said it was clear Green struggled with the transition to the NBA but is glad to see he's matured and developed into the player he is now.
"I'm really proud of Gerald, and seeing his maturation, going from an 18-year-old kid to a 27-year-old man," McDonough said. "He went over to Russia, played very well there, he went to the D-League, and played well. I think the guy you're seeing is closer to the guy who played very well in the New Jersey Nets a couple years ago and got the contract with Indiana."
Green's ability to score in bunches is something that's quickly made him an asset since he's joined the Suns. but McDonough said the team is still working with him at the defensive end.
"I think on the ball, he's generally pretty good," McDonough said. "Off-the-ball, there are concentration lapses at times, but I know he's worked very hard to maintain his focus."
"The effort's there with Gerald. That's the main thing I've been impressed with, and he wants to be good. He's done everything the coaches have asked of him."