Not easy being Green


Taurean Green’s four-stop odyssey through his rookie season came to an unceremonious end Monday night when the Los Angeles Lakers swept the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs.

The former UF point guard did not appear in the four games but was on the playoff roster and was one of a few Denver players on the team bus when it caught fire before Game 1 of the playoff series.

A friend of mine caught up with Green before Game 2 of the playoff series at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Here’s what Green had to say about a rookie season in which he was traded from Portland to Denver at midseason and spent time at NBDL affiliates in Idaho Falls and Colorado Springs:

On the bus catching on fire:

TG: “It was crazy, I was just listening to music and then I saw everybody looking back and I heard a pop. I figured it was a flat tire, but then everybody was saying, the bus is on fire, get off! I just stayed on. It was only on fire for a little bit. I moved to the front of the bus. Everybody was joking around, saying the Lakers found a way to get us.”

On the ups and downs of the season including being sent to the D-League:

TG: “It’s been an experience, I’ve just got to be patient. At Portland, it was a young and talented team. I was down in the D-League, played well, then I got traded here. It’s like a different team because there are a bunch of vets here. We’ve got two All-Stars in A.I. and Carmelo. It’s been a great experience. I’m being patient right now. I know once I get the opportunity, I’ll make the best of it.”

On getting sent down:

TG: “When you go down to the D-League, it makes you appreciate even more what you have in the NBA.”

On not getting to play:

TG: “It’s always frustrating when you don’t play, I’m not used to not playing a whole lot. But at the same time, by me not playing and watching, right now I have guys like Allen Iverson who I can learn from. A.C. (Anthony Carter) and Chucky Atkins are also guys I’m learning a lot from. All I can do is observe, watch game situations and try to get better.”

On talking and texting former teammates every other day

TG: “We just catch up with each other, see how each other is doing,” Green said. “We just share the ups and downs of the season, make sure everyone is doing all right, look out for each other.”

On being only one of three Gators including Al Horford and Matt Bonner left playing in the playoffs:

TG: “I talked to Joakim and Corey, they told me they were going to (Las) Vegas. I said, yeah, me and Al are collecting those playoff checks right now while they’re out there partying. So we’re fortunate enough to be in the playoffs. I think it’s good that I’m getting to experience it. Even though I’m not playing, it’s good that I’m able to see how hard teams are playing in the playoffs. I’m just learning a lot.”

On leaving school early:

TG: “It’s definitely been worth it. I don’t regret my decision at all. I’ve just got to wait for my opportunity. In Portland, it was tough. It was a weird situation for me because we had five point guards in the rotation. Here, I’m just learning a lot right now. It’s good to be able to watch other guys and learn. I’m just being a student of the game.”

On learning from A.I.:

TG: “Just the preparation coming into the game and how hard they compete. I just watch how A.I. gets by his defenders.”

On NCAA championship game between Kansas and Memphis:

TG: “I did watch it. I called it since the beginning of the year that Kansas would win. Ever since they beat us that time in Vegas, I thought, those boys are good and they had everybody coming back. I just knew they would be good.”