WASHINGTON 106, KINGS 104 - Game story; Game notes, Box score
ATLANTA 117, KINGS 99 - Game story, Game notes, Box score
CHARLOTTE 114, KINGS 97 - Game story, Game notes,Box score, Video recap
(Fell behind on "Overtime" and have documented the greatness that is the Kings' last three games)
NEW YORK - Donte' Greene has been entertaining off the floor. We know that much.
But while chatting with former Kings small forward Gerald Wallace last night, I couldn't help but wonder about conversations that may take place with the Kings rookie small forward in the years to come. Where he will be? How good of a player will he become? Will he regret coming out of college (Syracuse) after just one season? Will Greene be the next Wallace?
I break down Greene's recent surge of playing time and share a chat with him in tomorrow's paper, but also wanted to share Wallace's thoughts on the similarities between their plights. After Wallace left Alabama after one season and was drafted by the Kings in 2001, he sparked a lot of the same perceptions that are taking place now with Greene. While he was stuck at the end of the bench during the Kings' glory years, the same questions about his focus, his drive, his maturity circulated about him then like they are with Greene now.
"It was frustrating (with the Kings) because I was never given an opportunity," Wallace said. "They always said, 'We promise more playing time. Do this and do that and work hard.' But there's only so much individual work you can do. And it's no good if you're not able to play into game situations. I was to the point where I told my agent that - nothing against Sacramento or the organization or the people there - but I just felt like it wasn't the right place for me."
Wallace, of course, has gone on to be a dynamic player who would certainly be a star in Sacramento had he stayed. But even he acknowledged that it's hard to tell how young players will progress when they come out so young. Like it or not, there won't be answers to this question for quite some time.
"It's kind of hard, because...the question is 'How long do you stand by his side?'" Wallace said of players who are heavy on promise and light on production. "They basically stood on my side for three years. Who knows? Maybe I might have played (a lot for the Kings) my fourth year and maybe not."
Next year will play a large part in Greene's future, but let the record show that he is only signed through 2009-10 and the Kings have until Oct. 31 to pick up the team option for the 2010-11 season.
LUCKY FAN ALERT
So as I made my way around Times Square on Thursday night, had a long stay at the ESPNZone and wound up meeting a guy who may be the luckiest fan in the New York area this NBA season.
Andrew Avakian, 31, was in town from Hackensack, N.J. and mentioned that he had been to two NBA games this year. On Feb. 2, he moseyed up to the box office at the Garden to watch his favorite team - the Lakers (go figure) - and just so happened to pick a historic night to be on hand. Kobe Bean Bryant goes off for a Garden-record 61 points in a dazzling affair, and Avakian goes home ecstatic.
Then on Feb. 23, he and his uncle, Bob Avakian, head off to catch the New Jersey-Philadelphia tilt after being given tickets the day before and plop down four rows behind the Nets bench at the Izod Center. With one second left, the 76ers' Andre Iguodala hits his second straight free throw to put Philly up 96-95 and seemingly seal the game. Except that Devin Harris had a miracle in him that night, and the Nets point guard took the inbounds pass and buried perhaps the most ridiculous game-winners of all-time. Where Amazing Happens... - Sam Amick