Josh Green draft guide: Everything you need to know about Australia's next NBA export
Where could Green be headed next?
Credit: Mike Christy, Arizona Athletics
Josh Green will be joining college teammates Nico Mannion and Zeke Nnaji in the 2020 NBA draft, where he is a near-lock to be Australia’s next NBA player. The Sydney native was rated the eighth best player in his high school class by ESPN, so it comes as little surprise that he is a "one and done" prospect. Green's current NBA draft stock depends on who you ask, but he is a probable first round pick.
Green has been projected as a borderline lottery pick in the past, and his final position may ultimately come down to team needs. The 19 year old is viewed as a "3 and D" prospect, with his off-ball exploits drawing plaudits throughout the 2019-20 collegiate season. Green's game can be broken down into a list of strengths and weaknesses - here's everything you need to know about Josh Green, who will very likely be Australia's newest NBA player.
Length - At 6'6, Green appears to have the typical frame of an NBA shooting guard, but his 6'10 wingspan gives him above-average length for his position. The Arizona Wildcat uses this to his advantage on defence, often disrupting passing lanes and altering shots.
Athleticism - Green often made highlight reels with explosive dunks in transition. The 19 year old is quick in the open court, and made headlines with his leaping ability in a pre-season exhibition, where he jumped over two of his teammates.
Defence - This is arguably Green's greatest attribute at this point in his career. The athletic shooting guard is a tenacious defender on the ball, and this often shows up on the state sheet. Green averaged 1.5 steals per game, and Arizona coach Sean Miller highlighted his ability to deflect passes. “He is one of our team’s best players. We keep track of deflections and he leads our team in deflections. He can get a big steal or shot block,” Miller said.
Transition offence - Josh Green does his best work in transition, where his explosive athleticism is on show. Coach Miller praised the freshman's scoring and passing on fast breaks. "In transition, if he’s not our best overall player, he is one of them,” Miller said. “The thing about him is he can both finish and he has had some of our best passes in transition.
Areas for improvement
Three-point shooting - Green projects as an off-ball "3 and D" player at the professional level, meaning the three-point shot is paramount to his success. The Arizona Wildcat only attempted 2.8 three-pointers per game in the 2019-20 NCAA season, making 36% of them. 36% isn't an awful mark, especially given that the NCAA extended their three-point line prior to the 2019-20 season, but Green will have to increase his attempt rate. Although he made 78% of his free throw attempts, a sign of consistent shooting form, the Sydney native is yet to develop a reliable three ball.
Half-court offence - Green's shot chart in the half court, courtesy of The Stepien, leaves a lot to be desired. In the paint, he is prone to forcing tough shots and settling for runners. It doesn't help that Green relies on his dominant right hand; left-hand layups are a rare sighting for him. The 6'6 guard also lacks confidence in his mid range jumper, when he should be able to punish defenders that sag off. At the NBA level, Green will have to close the gap between his amazing transition game and less-than-stellar half-court game.
Off-hand finishing - At the rim, Green heavily favours his dominant right hand. Even when driving from the left, we seldom see the 6'6 guard attempting a left hand layup. According to The Stepien, Green had just two left handed finishes in his last two years of basketball (including NCAA and AAU). This is potentially another factor holding Green back from being a high lottery pick. Given his athleticism, the 19 year old could be unstoppable in the paint if he had a reliable left hand finish.
Offensive rebounding - Although he is often found standing on the perimeter, Green's athleticism gives him an advantage on the offensive glass. The "3 and D" wing is a point of difference in the rebound battle when he approaches the paint at the right moment. Coach Miller echoed these thoughts, saying “Offensive rebounding is something we are really trying to encourage him to do because his athleticism as a wing player really impacts whether or not we can get those second shots”.
Overall, Green can contribute to an NBA team right away. He is an NBA-caliber athlete, and appears to be NBA-ready on the defensive end. If he can develop a three-point shot to match, Green could become one of the league's leading "3 and D" players. This skillset is becoming more and more valuable in the modern NBA, where spacing is key. Teams that lack an off-ball wing player will be eyeing Green very closely in the 2020 NBA draft, but the 19 year old should be able to slot into virtually any team.
The Philadelphia 76ers have the 21st pick, and newly-hired president of basketball ops Daryl Morey may look to keep the Aussie theme going - Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle already feature on the Sixers’ roster. Similarly, the Utah Jazz hold the 23rd pick, potentially bringing Green and Joe Ingles together. A host of other playoff teams hold picks in the 20s - such as the Miami Heat (last season’s finalists - 20th pick), the Denver Nuggets (22nd pick), the Milwaukee Bucks (24th pick) and the Boston Celtics (26th pick).
Green may find himself on a competitive roster, which has its pros and cons. While he could gain playoff experience at a young age, the Aussie most likely won’t be afforded a long leash. Minutes may be hard to come by, as he won’t have the same opportunities as his lottery-pick colleagues who will land on rebuilding teams.
The 2020 NBA draft will be held on 18 November 2020.