Missing in action
WASHINGTON -- At the time of the
But in Minnesota, the 2007 Slam Dunk champion has been an afterthought. The stat sheet has read DNP-CD (Did Not Play-Coach's Decision) next to Green's name 10 times this season. Part of the problem is the Timberwolves' logjam at Green's position;
"I don't know what's going on," Green said before Tuesday's loss to the Wizards. "It's a little hard to believe. I'm a good player. It's one of the toughest situations I have been in in my life."
The knock on Green is a familiar one: exceptionally talented but gets into trouble because of poor decisions. With Boston, Green would suffer mental lapses that resulted in a turnover or an open jump shot for the opponent.
Frustrated, Green has approached Timberwolves coach
Said Wittman: "He's got to be patient. We have a lot of guys we're looking at [at his position] and I can't play them all. His opportunity will come."
When that will be is uncertain.
"If coach doesn't know," Green said with a smile, "then I sure don't know."
Teammates say Green has been a workhorse at practices, arriving early and staying late to work on his game.
"I think things are going to turn around for him," forward
Strange as it may sound, Green may be fighting for his basketball life at the age of 21. The Timberwolves chose not to exercise the fourth-year option on his contract in training camp, meaning Green, the 18th pick of the 2005 draft, will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. And teams aren't exactly clamoring for a swingman who can't crack the rotation on the NBA's worst team.
"I definitely think about that," Green said. "I just feel like my back is to the wall. But if I'm going to go down, I'm going down fighting. I think I'm having great practices. I just can't see playing time. I guess I have to be better. Maybe they are looking at other guys. Maybe they are seeing things in me that I don't see. Whatever it is, I have to keep working on getting better."
That may not include working on a fresh repertoire of dunks for the 2008 contest. Green said that at the moment he is considering not going to New Orleans in February to defend his crown during All-Star Weekend.
"I don't know about that," he said. "I thought I would but now ... I just don't know."
For Green, uncertainty seems to be a recurring feeling.