Erick Green (@ErickGreen on Twitter) played in 43 games this past season with the Denver Nuggets and is working hard this off-season to solidify his spot on the Nuggets roster for the up-coming 2015-16 NBA season. I was able to catch up with Erick this past weekend to find out how he's preparing for the new season, a new head coach in Mike Malone, and his experiences playing overseas with Montepaschi Siena of the Italian League.
Q: Drafted by the Utah Jazz then traded to the Denver Nuggets on draft night in 2013, you spent the 2013-14 season with Montepaschi Siena of the Italian League where you averaged 11 points per game. What was the whole experience like and what did you gain from it?
A: It was a great experience, taught me a lot, taught me to grow up, taught me to be more mature on and off the court. I enjoyed it, I got to travel to Russia, Spain, Germany, Turkey, all over to be honest with you. Great experience, helped me with my game, overseas there's a lot of pick-n-roll just like the NBA. It's kind of like a development league just overseas.
Q: The team you played for was a dominant team across Europe and won the Italian league championship 6 or 7 years in a row is that right?
A: Yea, we won it 7 straight years in a row and then we lost in game 7 (championship) last year.
Q: What were you able to learn from the European game, like improving on the pick-n-roll, that you carried over to the NBA this past year?
The physicality, more physical over there, like they foul you and get away with more stuff than you get over here in the NBA. And um, the footwork aspect of the game, different footwork to get around people and just like that, that's where a lot of the NBA players got it from, like Ginobli and other foreign players with the footwork.
Q: Where are you working out this summer and who have you been working with? Other NBA players or athletes?
A: Yea, I was in Arizona with Ish Smith and we were working on pick-n-roll, shooting, and working different moves and then we went to DC for a while and me, Victor Oladipo, and Jerian Grant worked out. And then I was just in Fort Lauderdale, FL for 2.5 weeks working out with like Rudy Gay, Ish Smith, and Charlie Villanueva and uh just working and getting better man, it's been a great summer, been traveling a lot and just trying to get better to compete for more minutes next year.
Q: Mike Malone comes over to be the new Head Coach and he's known around the league as a defensive coach so just wanted to see what defensively do you want to work on most, pick-n-roll defense, closing out, transition defense, what's been your priority to work on?
A: Um, mainly picking up the ball full court in the position I play, you know making the point guard work and getting over screens, being more physical on the defensive end as in um, I have to guard the ball a lot so that's a majority of pick-n-rolls so being able to defend that is what he (Malone) wants me to continue to work on.
Q: NBA Finals last year, fans were able to see position-less basketball is becoming more and more popular across the league especially if you can shoot the 3 and play some D and I feel like with your size at point guard, do you feel like it plays to your advantage to gain a roster spot with the Nuggets because you can play the 2 (SG) in a pinch?
A: Yea, I think it definitely does I mean that's one thing coach Malone complimented me on when I was in Vegas that I could play both the 1 or the 2, and that way I can be on the floor on the ball or off the ball so it's kind of like a double threat and I like it man, it's whatever gets me on the court and just to play, getting some time, make a name for myself and I could really care less if they put me at the 1 or 2, I just want to be in the game.
Q: Last question, easiest one. Where are you watching VT vs Ohio State on Labor Day?
A: Haha I actually might come into town for that game. If I don't make the game I'll definitely be with my friends, cheering on with all my VTech gear on supporting them.