Green playing toward another shot at NBA in Reno

Denver Nuggets guard Erick Green (11) drives around Utah Jazz guard Elijah Millsap, rear, in the second half during an NBA preseason basketball game on Oct. 22 in Salt Lake City.  AP file

Denver Nuggets guard Erick Green (11) drives around Utah Jazz guard Elijah Millsap, rear, in the second half during an NBA preseason basketball game on Oct. 22 in Salt Lake City. AP file

Erick Green views his current situation as just another path toward his ultimate goal.

The former Millbrook High School and Virginia Tech basketball standout was released by the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 5 – three games into this NBA season – as the team sought front-court help after a season-ending injury to forward Wilson Chandler.

The Reno Bighorns, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Sacramento Kings, officially picked up Green off waivers last Saturday, and the point guard is now awaiting a possible return to the NBA.

“It’s a learning experience, man,” Green said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. “… For me, my whole life nothing has ever been handed to me. I’ve kind of always looked at it like just another route in a direction to get to where I wanna get to. It’s kind of been tough. You know, I feel like if that injury never happened with Wilson Chandler I wouldn’t be here. But it happens. Things happen for a reason and I really feel like it could be a blessing in disguise and everything will work out one day. I’m just trying to stay positive through the whole situation and I really think everything will work out.”

Green, who appeared in 43 games and averaged 3.4 points and 9.5 minutes per contest for Denver in his first NBA season last year, may not have to wait long if he can maintain the level of play he’s shown in his first two D-League games with Reno.

In those two contests, Green has scored a combined 63 points, hitting 21 of 41 shots (51.2 percent) from the field, while dishing out 11 assists. In the Bighorns’ 118-114 loss Sunday to the Santa Cruz Warriors, Green erupted for 40 points while adding six rebounds and six assists.

“Every game I go into I’ve got the mindset of that, prove to everybody and show people what I can do,” Green said. “I’m a point guard, even though I’m putting up all these points I’m very unselfish. I get my assists, drive the lane and make big plays. I’m just trying to show everybody, people that have forgotten about me because I sat on the bench all last year, the things that I can do.”

Although Reno is an affiliate of Sacramento, Green is free to sign with any NBA team. He said a couple NBA teams have already been in contact with him.

“You’ve just gotta be patient through the process and wait for the right situation,” said Green, who appeared in three games with the Nuggets in limited action this season. “You don’t wanna go to another situation where you’re just gonna sit the bench and not get an opportunity again. So you’ve just gotta be patient and keep working every day, and just whenever the right moment comes it will come and I just hope I take full advantage of it.”

Green played his first professional basketball season overseas in Italy, but he said he’s “definitely gonna wait it out” for another shot at the NBA.

“I got offered a lot of money to go back overseas, man, and I turned it down,” Green said. “I think I’ve got a good shot. I’m right here knocking on the door, I’ve just gotta find a good situation, a good situation to give me an opportunity.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com

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