Photos and video clips are buzzing through the Internet the day after Jeff Green threw down a monster dunk against the Utah Jazz Al Jefferson on Wednesday at the TD Garden. Images of the 6-9, 235-swingman elevating over the 6-10, 289-pound center show more than just a slam. The shots depict a player having a breakthrough moment during his comeback season with the Boston Celtics.
Although Green struggled early on to establish his aggressiveness on the court, there has always been a powerful dunker waiting for the right opportunity to attack. Green broke down his approach to dunking with CSNNE.com.
JC: How did you develop your dunking skills?
JG: "I didn't start dunking until tenth grade. It's just something that came over the course of the year in high school. I've never been a flashy-360-windmill type of dunker. Two points is two points to me."
JC: You have the ball in your hands. Take me through the process of a good dunk.
JG: "Let's see, first you've got to gather yourself but you've got to be able to explode. Are we trying to dunk on somebody? There's a difference.
JC: Dunking both when guarded and when open.
JG: "You need spacing, speed, and power in both situations. When you're going against a big guy, you've got to have power to be able to explode over him. That's tough sometimes because these guys are huge. But it's no secret. When the lane is open, I just see the rim. If anybody's around, I don't see them. My goal is to get to the rim. On a fastbreak, I'm trying to get there fast and explode to the rim fast. I'm not a flashy dunker. I'm strong."
JC: How do you determine whether to go up for a dunk or in for a layup?
JG: "For me, I look at the guy, whoever is there. I look him in the face. You can tell whether or not they want to step up or if they are going to get in front of that lane. If not, then I'm going over the top of them. If they step in front, then you have to figure out a way to get around him because you don't want to draw a charge."
JC: How do you gauge if you can dunk when you are being defended?
JG: "It all depends on how far you are underneath the basket, how far you can put him under the basket. It's tough when you're posting up doing it, unless you're Dwight Howard and you're super strong. But you've just got to figure out how far you are from the basket, how far you can push the defender underneath it."
JC: What is the ideal distance for you to be from the basket to dunk?
JG: "I have long arms so the charge circle. My wingspan is 7-2. If I can get up in the air before they can get in the charge circle, I figure I have a great chance of getting it."
JC: When youre mid-air, what do you see?
JG: "It's fast, very fast. It's a split second. You've got to be the quickest up in the air and gravity pulls you down quick. Sometimes my eyes are closed because if you have this puts his hand in his face here, you get a foul. I try to keep my eyes open. It's tough, but you just try to explode to the rim and try to punch it through. My main focus is the rim, trying to explode to it. I don't see anything else. It's kind of like a blackout."
JC: You've been in the league since 2007. What has been your most memorable dunk to this point?
JG: "I dunked on Yao Ming my rookie year. He came this way and I kind of threw it in. It was in Houston."
JC: Who is the toughest person you have tried to dunk on?
JG: "The toughest person I've ever tried to dunk on was Shaq. That was when he was in Phoenix. He knocked me to the floor, I got fouled. I tried to go twice on him. He told me, 'You're never going to get me. I'll foul you hard to the ground.' I was like, 'Alright, we'll see.' Next play, I was on the ground."
JC: Who are your dunking idols?
JG: "Vince Carter, of course. Scottie Pippen because he was so long and he was quick off the floor. Michael Jordan of course, that's probably about it."