I’ll be the first to admit, I have not been a fan of Josh Green getting minutes on the Mavericks until very recently. His performance in last year’s playoffs felt like it sealed the deal for me. I thought he should have been able to bring more value than he did and certainly not be a liability the way he ended up being.
Playing hot potato with the ball, as was his MO, is an excruciating thing to witness. It’s really something I don’t wish for my worst enemy. To watch someone being afraid of the ball, of shooting the ball, of catching the ball - it all just makes me want to flee the room. I seriously don’t know if it’s worse to witness or experience, and personally I was often forced to close my eyes whenever he had the ball last year, just out of sheer panic.
Well, this is a different Josh. A different year, a different energy, a different confidence. And I’m here for all of it.
His shot, which I would call wonky at best last year, is now much smoother, much more confident - and more importantly - automatic. Second-guessing a shot is the worst thing you can do. if you don’t pull the trigger right away as a shooter, you might as well not shoot. (Green could take a lesson from Davis Bertans here, who has one of the fastest shots I have ever seen, no second-guessing there). Second-guessing throws off the rhythm and balance that’s needed for a catch and shoot and it takes a much more accomplished player to create a shot for himself.
Well, back to the awesomeness that is Josh Green this year. For a team to be successful, it takes much more than scoring. When Green enters the court these days, he brings a certain something extra, something you might call je ne sais quoi, but that I’ll call energy.
He speeds up the game in the best way possible these days, changing it up for the opposing defense who had just gotten used to Luka’s slower offense. Since Green usually comes in with the second unit when Luka is out, this is a needed change to keep the defense on their toes (or heels) and to force them to switch things up. This also makes it easier for Luka when he returns later in the game.
I like the idea of some of the more chaotic players - and I say that in the most loving way, because who’s not chaotic next to the very methodical Luka - being able to help switch the momentum when needed. Fast breaks, aggression on defense, hustle. It brings a spark to the slow-moving offense and creates easy buckets when it works
If he can actually keep this up the rest of the season - maybe even into the playoffs - it’s exactly what many of us have been asking for from him. Not to be a starter or necessarily a scorer, but someone to turn to, when you need energy on the court - both offensively and defensively.
Along with Dwight Powell, who went from unpopular to MVP among fans last week and deservedly so, Josh Green has excited a surprised fan base since the preseason. He is not starting caliber on this team (yet), but the improvements he made over the summer makes him a valuable piece, who Kidd can trust.
With dunks, steals and his athleticism, he is now as exciting to watch as he was excruciating last year. If he keeps developing, he can end up as a go-to-guy on this team. In the past, he has proven that he has amazing vision and passing skills, and when you combine that with his athleticism, the potential is enormous. But for now, let’s just agree that he’s Most Improved on the Mavericks this year.