Standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing in at 210 pounds, Josh Green has an NBA ready body. Not to mention his 6-foot-10 wingspan that he uses as a weapon on the defensive end. He turned 20 years old two days before the draft. Green is also a good athlete for his size, with impressive speed and explosiveness from the wing position.
Green ended high school as the 13th ranked prospect in the Class of 2019, according to 247Sports. He was the second-highest ranked prospect out of Florida, only behind Vernon Carey and ahead of Precious Achiuwa.
In just one season at Arizona, he averaged 12.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.4 blocks per game.
As a wing, Green offers the Mavericks some much needed depth at that position. The Mavericks especially needed wings with a strong defensive presence.
We saw the importance of these type of players in the playoffs, when Maxi Kleber was the only person on the Mavericks roster who could be tasked with staying in front of Kawhi Leonard. Although Kleber is an excellent one-on-one defender, a wing with more speed would’ve likely been a better matchup.
Luckily for Dallas, head coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged the need for these players both in word and actions. He not only drafted Green, but also traded to get plus-defender Josh Richardson and a pick. That pick was later used to draft defensive specialist Tyler Bey. Here’s what Carlisle had to say on draft night about Green specifically:
“What we needed first for our roster were wing defenders who can shoot, score and hopefully make plays. We feel he (Green) is a ready-to-go 3-and-D guy.”
How can Green become that ready-to-go role player? Let’s look back at his college play.
Green made his living on the defensive end, and it’s likely where he will in the NBA as well. His quickness allowed him to guard multiple positions, but he especially thrived in on-the-ball situations. The quickness at which he plays shows real promise to be able to defend ball handlers in the league, at least in bursts.
He also has really good defensive instincts. The importance of this cannot be overstated, as team defense tends to be king the NBA. Even though Green’s defense tends to shine most in on-ball situations, the instincts prove he could translate these to off-ball situations more often.
Green will have to tame these instincts a little bit though. His hunger to make a play on the defensive end is exciting, but can sometimes to get him in trouble. He can be overly aggressive on close-outs, usually by biting on pump fakes. Ball-watching was also a common problem, which ironically results in a transition bucket here, but leads to a negative play more times than not.
Green wasn’t necessarily a stat-padder on defense, but he still put up good numbers. His greatest strength was steals, which in got both by shooting into passing lanes and defending primary ball handlers. Green averaged 1.5 steals per game, bringing that number up to 2.8 when you look at it terms of per 100 possessions.
Green isn’t a shot blocker, averaging just 0.8 per game last season, but he is a shot effector. His long wingspan and strong frame help him deter shots from anyone on the court. He can slide into the paint and go up against a big, or use his quick feet to contest his primary assignment once they reach the rack. His 1.6 BLK% doesn’t jump off the chart, but expect him to have an impressively low opponent field goal percentage.
The rebounding is another area where Green makes a nice impact for his position. He averaged 4.6 boards per game last season, with 1.3 of those coming on the offensive end. He’s not someone who’s going to out strength you on the block, but the quickness of his feet allows him to get crafty and sneak around his assignment. He also can use his athleticism to finish a putback, like he does here.
On the offensive end of the floor, expect Green to be used almost exclusively as a slasher or stationary shooter.
When Green is able to get his feet set and then let the shot fly, good things happen. According to Synergy, he averaged 1.20 points per possession on half-court catch-and-shoot jump shots, placing him in the 85th percentile.
Green’s form is pretty solid overall. I’ve noticed his feet can get spread out really wide at times, but this should be an easy fix. Other scouts have commented on an elbow flare that could be leading to the struggle for Green to shoot consistently.
The thing that pops out the most to be is the dip he sometimes takes in catch-and-shoot situations. The only guy in the league who can shoot it chest-level is Duncan Robinson. Obviously, no one is asking Green to be able to do that, but this process is pretty slow. Here, the defender is just off the block when the ball hits Green’s hands, and still manages to nearly tip it.
Luckily the form isn’t always this slow. Green is typically able to get the ball out quickly, like he does in the clip below, The question is if he can continue to release the ball quick. Will he need to get in a rhythm before he’s able to do so? How long will it take? These are things I’m sure the Mavericks player development staff will be monitoring and working to improve.
Here you can see Green makes a smart read on his defender, who prematurely slides over to help. He stays on the perimeter instead of running into three guys in the paint and is able to get the shot off quickly.
Another growth area Green is his playmaking. After averaging 2.6 assists per game, this isn’t an area where Green contributes regularly. His assist/turnover ratio of 1.59 shows there’s some improvements to be made in his ball security, but he still possesses good instincts. Plays like this one below are where he best demonstrates his ability to make quick reads and deliver a good pass,
I don’t think Green will need to be responsible for very much playmaking or ball handling this season, if any at all, but it is something to monitor through his rookie season. According to Synergy, Green scored just 0.42 points per dribble jump shot in the half court, placing him in the bottom tenth percentile in all of college basketball.
Green puts the ball on the floor often, which I believe is a good thing even though the results don’t show that. When a defender is closing out he will often fake a shot, take a dribble and shoot a midrange jumper.
He often attacks closeouts correctly, but unfortunately the results are still a mixed bag. Consistency is king, and this an area Green will be looking to improve upon.
As a slasher, Green uses his freakish athleticism to help him finish around the basketball. When Green puts the ball down, he usually does so to take a mid-range jumper. But he also can put it down a drive to the basket, usually resulting in athletic slams like these.
In the clip below, Green shows a slight fake, drives on the baseline and then throws down an athletic dunk. If he plays a lot of minutes alongside Luka Doncic, I think this is something we’ll see often.
Green is still trying to find some consistency around the basket. His NBA-ready build helped him fight through contact, but again the touch for Green is a little spotty. He does however show some nice touch on runners.
Here’s a clip of some excellent off ball movement from Green. He doesn’t get bored and stand around on offense, which is what the majority of his teammates are doing here. Instead he moves around until he finds his spot. Then, he attacks the close, drives to the basket and demonstrates the ability to hit the runner.
The more I think about it, the more I have sold myself on Green’s selection. He is still plenty raw offensively, but the potential is there. Green will likely be able to play day one in the rotation thanks to his defensive instincts. He might already be the Mavericks best defensive wing off-the-bench, and could eventually be one of the best on the team.
Taking him at 18 means putting a good amount of faith in him developing a shot, and I don’t blame the Mavericks for doing so. He must shoot the ball with more consistency and with better form will be the key to him showing up in the box score every night. The touch around the rim will also be an interesting development to watch.
At the end of the day, Green has something impossible to teach — basketball IQ. He is an incredible smart player, possesses good instincts on both ends and has a crazy high motor. It is clear he loves being on the basketball court, which should do him plenty of favors with his development. Also, he sounds like he was really excited at the prospect of being a Maverick, which is nice to hear. Here’s what he had to say on draft night:
“Yeah, I’ve always watched the Mavericks from a young age. They’ve always been dominant in the Western Conference. For me to say that I’m a part of the organization is crazy. It’s an unreal feeling.
“But my meeting with them, I felt like it was amazing. They’re really down-to-earth, good people. I just felt like I got along with them very well, and you could tell they take their player development very serious as well as the organization. I was all for it.
“I was super pumped, and I loved the Mavericks. It’s something I continued to stress to my agent — what are the Mavericks thinking, what about this. So I’m stoked right now.”
That’s Josh Green, likely the highest draft pick Dallas fans are likely to see drafted for the next several years. Though there are questions, Green brings so much to the table. We can’t wait to see him in uniform.
Here’s the post-draft podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below “More from Mavs Moneyball”, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.