A breakdown on Josh Green's recent play and areas of improvement
Green is getting the longest sustained minutes of his NBA career so far. What is he doing well, and what needs to improve?
After being drafted 18th overall in the 2020 NBA draft, expectations were high for Josh Green to translate his encouraging college season at Arizona into a productive NBA career. The sample size was too small to judge his rookie season, as he’d only played 11.4 minutes a game across 39 appearances. It seemed as though Green had found himself in the doghouse of a head coach with a reputation for not playing rookies. It wasn’t until midseason that when the team’s meagre perimeter depth was tested. Reaching deep into the roster, Green was finally used, and even then, sparingly. His unexplored potential appeared to lie dormant.
Carlisle’s departure at the end of last season signalled an opportunity for Green to step into the rotation, with the Mavericks still desperate for quality, athletic wings to step up as Luka Dončić’s running mates. Yet, under new head coach Jason Kidd, Green’s minutes would further decline, as he played in only 18 of the Mavs’ 28 games to open this NBA season. Instead of simply scapegoating Green’s lack of opportunity to a singular coach, the growing reality is that opportunity as a raw youngster on a playoff bound team is earned, not given. But without more playing time, Green might not be able to realise his potential to contribute.
In what became a silver lining to the NBA’s catastrophic spread of COVID-19 throughout the league, the Mavericks’ isolation-plagued roster has forced Kidd to try the second year pro out, with as many as eight of the team’s players sidelined at once, as was the case for their game against the Kings on New Years Day. With plenty more plays to assess his ability out on the floor, his minutes have elicited some promising flashes.
Most notably, Green’s passing has been an impressive wrinkle on the offensive end on the floor, highlighted by his 10 assist outing against Portland on Tuesday. Though teammate Tim Hardaway Jr declaring he looked ‘like Magic Johnson out there’ may be a tad on the hyperbolic side, Green has always been a plus passer on the wing, going back to when he averaged 3.4 assists per 40 minutes his freshman season at Arizona. The impressive assist numbers both then and now are a testament to his vision, considering how little he actually has the ball on the offensive end of the floor.