Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

July 19, 2009
Donte the Defender? Elie thinks it's possible

Going through some leftover material from the Las Vegas Summer League I found this tidbit from assistant coach Mario Elie on Donte Greene interesting.

I wanted to know Elie's take on Greene's potential as a defender. With Greene's size and athleticism, I mentioned the possibility of Greene defending at least three positions (shooting guard and both forward spots).

After the Kings finished their summer league schedule with Greene starting at shooting guard I figured it was a topic worth looking at again.

Here was Elie's take:

"That's going to be some work. This is my first real dose of Donte. He's still a young player and that's his thing. A lot of young players have got to understand offense is not going to get you on the court every time. Sometimes it's doing the little things. Playing defense, making hustle plays and that's how I got on the court. I got out there and Rudy T (former Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich) would tell me 'Mario, go out there and shut this guy down' and I had no problem doing that. And Donte's got to understand sometimes it's not going to be offense. We may need you to guard (Shawn) Marion, an athletic three. I think he has the capability of doing it. It's just up to him, the willingness to do it."

Greene's ability to grow into such a role would be a boost for the Kings on both ends of the court. Being able to defend multiple positions has obvious benefits. But if Greene is defending Pau Gasol, for example, Greene could force Gasol to defend on the perimeter and create a mismatch. The same holds if Greene defended a shooting guard like Brandon Roy. If Greene were able to develop a consistent post game, he'd make Roy have to work on both ends.

If Elie can get Green - or any other King - to be the defensive hound he was in his playing days remains to be seen.

It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

--Jason Jones

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