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Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Lakers sign Gerald Green ... and will likely keep looking around

By Andy Kamenetzky

The Lakers announced the signing of former first-round pick/quick NBA washout Gerald Green. The terms are yet unknown, but I'll go out on a limb and predict it's of the "make good" variety.

I'll also go out on a limb and predict when Mitch Kupchak told us Monday he's looking to make deals big and small, this one falls into the latter category.

On paper, this signing makes perfect sense. Three things the Lakers could use are shooting guard depth behind Kobe Bryant, youth and athleticism. Green, 26, springy as all get out -- and technically speaking, a shooting guard -- provides all three. In particular, athleticism. Remember, not only did he win the dunk contest, he did so while blowing out a candle on a cupcake. Kinda like walking and chewing gum at the same time, except at a higher altitude and much, much harder.

Unfortunately, unless Mike Brown's offensive schemes involve a lot of baked goods, Green will be required to do more than just dazzle with hops and speed. And I'm not entirely convinced he can do it. I happened to be in Vegas last year when he was a part of the Lakers' Summer Pro League team, and his results were mixed, at best. Green can still dunk like something out of a video game, but in terms of basketball utility, he didn't bring much to the table.

Looking at his numbers, Green's shot 36 percent from behind the arc on his young career, so evidence of an ability to consistently spread the floor is low. He has a career assist-to-turnover ratio of .8/1.1, so either his handle, court vision, or both leave something to be desired. And I don't recall him a particularly effective defender. As we've learned with Shannon Brown, youth and athleticism are nice assets, but they don't always translate into great play on a basketball court.

In the meantime, Green's never played nearly as consistently well as Shannon.

Obviously, players can -- and sometimes even do -- improve as they get older, which perhaps will be the case with Green. And to his credit, I talked with him for a bit in Vegas, and he did sound like his overseas stints were an eye-opening, maturity-inducing experience. Maybe he's put in the work physically and mentally to turn the corner. It would be a great story, if nothing else. And again, the competition at two-guard, unless you're counting Devin Ebanks or Matt Barnes playing out of his natural position, is basically Andrew Goudelock, hardly a lock to make the team himself.

Still, I'm having a hard time picturing Green in a Laker uni beyond training camp. Or Kupchak not continuing to work the phone for guards.