More HoopsHype Rumors
July 23, 2021 | 5:25 pm EDT Update
Less than a decade and a half later, the 39-year-old Green has become an NBA head coach, with New Orleans making the hire official Thursday. A key reserve for the 2010-11 playoff-qualifying Hornets, Green is the first ex-New Orleans player to also serve as head coach with the franchise. Former ’10-11 teammates of Green say the news of his hire came as no surprise to them. “He was always dependable, one of those guys who are just rock-solid on your team,” Jason Smith said of Green. “He was the same way every day, so consistent. As a teammate, you could go to him and he knew pretty much everything and anything about the game, on and off the court.”
“He had this aura about him, where you knew you had to play off of him, because he’s always going to get the job done,” Smith said. “He understood everything from X’s and O’s on the court, to defensive concepts – how do I guard this pick-and-roll scenario? – so that he was always on the same page as you. You always knew exactly what he was going to do on the court. He always asked, ‘What do I need to do to help you out as a big guy?’ ”
Okafor remembers Green having a coach-like influence on him during the ’10-11 season – even though Green is only 14 months older than Okafor. “He was big on giving words of encouragement that were uplifting,” Okafor said of conversations with Green. “He always came to me (before games) and said, ‘Hey Mek, with this (Hornets) team, the more energy you have, the better you do and the better the team does. When you do well, we all do well.’ He’d be in my ear about that.”
July 23, 2021 | 5:17 pm EDT Update