The Mavericks’ 18th overall pick in the 2020 Draft was likely the highest pick they’ll have for years, barring any trades. By using their pick to draft Josh Green out of Arizona, Dallas showed just how important defense is to their future, and of course their championship timeline.
While Green is still a bit raw offensively, he was perhaps one of the best wing defenders in college basketball last season. This seems like one of the main reasons the Mavericks were drawn to him in the pre-draft process, and eventually ended up drafting him. Here’s what Rick Carlisle said about Green and his fit with the team on draft night:
“What we needed first for our roster are wing defenders . . . we feel like he (Green) is a ready-to-go three-and-D guy.
“We need to get our defense better . . . we wanna acquire players with that mindset and that capability.”
Coming off a singular collegiate season where he averaged 12 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game, he’s shown potential to fill the box score. But as he makes the difficult rookie adjustment, his role may be depending on a few key areas.
How much can Josh Green stay on the floor? Sure, Green fills a role for the Mavericks, but the rawness of his offensive skillset (which is already limited) could cause him to slip in the rotation. The list of rookies who have played significant roles for the Mavericks in the past decade is already a short one to begin with. Green’s role seems even more uncertain when you realize most of these rookies were playing for bad teams, not championship caliber ones.
Rookie who have averaged more than >20 MPG for the Mavericks since 2010:
Dennis Smith Jr.
It’s not to say that Green can’t play significant minutes. If he can make shots and play defense, he’ll have a clear-cut role on this team. Hell, that’s how Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith just had ridiculously efficient seasons. What I am saying is that this is someone who tuned 20 years old last month. Things could take some time, and history shows us they almost always do.
Best Case Scenario
Green is able to hit shots at high-volume, play defense, be a third-tier playmaker, and finish consistently around the rim.
The Mavericks need a point of attack defender, badly. Green could become a guy you throw on the floor to lock up a shifty point guard, playmaking two guard or a point forward. His defense becomes his greatest asset for the Mavericks.
Green also improving his deep shooting will be huge. He shot just 30-83 (36.1%) on three-point attempts last season. That’s good efficiency, but low volume at just 2.8 attempts per game. 83 three-point attempts were only the 38th most in the Pac-12 last season. Him being able to not only hit a high clip of shots, but also a variety of them could really improve his offensive impact.
Worst Case Scenario
Green sits at the bottom of the rotation until his offense is developed enough to play on a high-level team.
I don’t think Green will ever be someone the offense will have to avoid getting touches. As of right now, his spot-up shooting and slashing ability appear to be enough from becoming a negative on offense. But in most heliocentric offenses, especially the one Dallas, you have to be able to make shots to stay on the floor. If Green isn’t able to up his volume and do it consistently, it could get ugly.
However, I’m not sure there was a Maverick last season who had such a large disparity between offensive and defensive talent. In the rare event that Green can’t get his offense clicking, it’ll be interesting to see how Carlisle plugs him into lineups.