Every good team needs a microwave man, a guy they can look to off the bench that heat things up with a hurry and in a pinch. The Houston Rockets got their microwave man, and some might say their heart and soul, almost by accident back on December 28.
The team was dealing with a plethora of injuries and signed Green, who up until that point had been playing pickup games in his driveway (god, how many times have we heard that line this year? I had to put it in here), to a 10-day deal.
It didn’t take long for Green to show off his microwave skills, as he scored double-digit points in nine straight games after his initial appearance, including three games of 20-plus points, and he had five games out of his first 10 with four or more three pointers.
He also quickly got in the good graces of Rockets coaches, fans, and teammates, repping H-town at every turn. After Green was signed for the remainder of the year on January 5, he was regularly spotted on his way to the games wearing the jerseys of various Houston sports royalty, from Earl Campbell, to Robert Horry, to Hakeem Olajuwon. The Houston Rockets team symbol made a regular appearance in his hair style.
He also had zero problems watching his teammates’ backs at all times. If you recall, he was suspended for two games in mid-January for a role in the locker room drama with the Los Angeles Clippers, and he also famously stuck up for Chris Paul, who was pushed to the floor by Gorgui Dieng in a March game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Green responded with a forearm to Dieng, which earned him an ejection. CP3 happily paid his fine.
Green finished the year averaging 12.1 points per game — a pleasant surprise for a guy signed off of the street — and he shot 37 percent from beyond the arc. His deep-ball prowess fit perfectly in Houston’s system.
He did, as expected, struggle defensively, finishing the season with -2.4 defensive plus-minus, and that was a big reason that his minutes slipped in the postseason to 16 per game, down from 22 per game in the regular season. But he did go for 21 points in a Game 2 win against Minnesota in the first round and hit three triples in back-to-back games against the Golden State Warriors in Games 5 and 6 (one win and one loss).
Green’s status for next season, however, is up in the air. He’ll be a free agent this summer, and the Rockets are famously chasing both Paul George and LeBron James, so it’s unknown at this point what type of money they’ll have available for depth players.
With Green a Houston native and obviously enjoying his season in Rockets red, he could be willing to come back at a hometown price. Though his unexpected play may have earned him a raise from another team should he be looking to leave.
As a fan, though, he’s the kind of guy you want back. He bleeds Houston to the core, is a fit in the system, and if team management wants him back, something tells me Green will be more than happy to put on that Houston jersey for another season.