Josh in the West: Looking ahead to Green and Giddey's runs to the postseason
Two Joshs from Australia headline a wacky Western Conference this season.
The Western Conference standings are a mess. With three weeks left in the season, just three losses separate teams four through 12 in the standings. A conference that has dominated the NBA over the past twenty years has finally been surpassed. A glut of mediocre teams are fighting for their place in the postseason and two Australians find themselves in the middle of it all.
Josh Green and Josh Giddey look headed for a collision course in the west’s play-in tournament. Both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks (sitting one game under .500 at the time of writing) are jostling side by side in the standings, although the pressures and relative successes for both are drastically different. The Thunder have already enjoyed a successful season – nothing that happens over the next month can alter that. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has elevated into superstar status and Giddey has emerged as a bone fide NBA swingman. Simply being mentioned in the same breath as Dallas is a sign of progress for Oklahoma City.
Green’s ascendence in Dallas has run counter to the fortunes of his team. The Australian averaged just seven minutes per game during Dallas’ run to the conference finals last year. He entered the season as a question mark. Personally, he has answered the call and shown signs of becoming a prototypical role player in the modern NBA. Offensively his three ball has arrived and defensively Green has developed the experiential intellect to match his athletic traits. Those two facets alone will likely see him rewarded with a high eight figure contract extension in July. Green has become Dallas’s most important role player and is now their best perimeter defender.
That last sentence is simultaneously a complement to Green and an indictment to what has become of Dallas.
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