The Dallas Mavericks selected Josh Green with the 18th overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft. Green got off to an incredibly rocky start, making only four total threes in his entire rookie season. Meanwhile, Desmond Bane who was selected later in the same draft made 117 threes in his rookie season.
Jason Kidd was hired prior to Green’s second season. This represented a great opportunity for Green as Kidd has historically been much more open to playing young players than previous coach Rick Carlisle. Green and Kidd’s first season together was a mild success for Green and a roaring success for the team. The team won a playoff series for the first time since 2011 and made the Western Conference Finals.
Green was effective enough in the regular season but became unplayable in the playoffs. During the regular season, he upped his three-point percentage to 35.9 percent but still made only 28 total threes. In the playoffs, his shooting fell off a cliff. He was 5-for-22 from three while teams completely ignored him.
Teams ignoring him, neutered his playmaking ability which is perhaps his greatest offensive talent. With no one closing out to him, he was unable to attack a scrambled defense and find another teammate for a better shot. The goal for Green during the offseason was clear, become both a more willing and able shooter.
Green understood the assignment. He has already made 62 threes this season despite missing time with injuries. His per 100 possessions three-point attempt rate has more than doubled from his rookie season. He is up to 5.7 threes attempted per 100 possessions after only taking 2.8 as a rookie. He is also making over 40 percent of his threes for the first time in his career.
His shooting has opened up driving lanes, which he has taken advantage of. His success has only improved recently. Over his last five games, Green has averaged 17.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. There is a temptation to discount those numbers because of the time Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have missed. However, that is a mistake. The time that Doncic and Irving have missed have made Green moonlight as a true offensive engine, rather than a secondary scorer attacking a scrambled defense.
This success bodes incredibly well for the Mavericks future. Green is such an important piece for the Mavericks going forward because he has the ability to truly contribute on both sides of the ball. The Mavericks have too many players who are either offensive or defensive weapons. Green’s improvement on offense means that he can truthfully be a two-way player as more than just a floor spacer offensively.
Kidd has received quite a bit of criticism for his rotations, psychological warfare with his players and usage of timeouts at every place he has coached. But he has also shown an undeniable flair for developing young players. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most outrageous talents in NBA history, but Kidd was important for his development. Green does not have anything approaching that level of talent. But Kidd also helped other players such as Khris Middleton develop as well. Kidd even made Thon Maker useful for a little while.
One of the positive possibilities of the Kidd hiring, was the possibility that he would help Green develop into the player the Mavericks envisioned when they drafted Green. That pick had extra importance to the Mavericks due to the picks traded away in the Kristaps Porzingis and Doncic trades. This has not been a particularly successful season so far, but it has actually gotten the Mavericks closer to sustainable success going forward. Acquiring Irving certainly has the biggest effect on the potential of the Mavericks going forward. But the development of Green has been an undeniable bright spot, and Kidd deserves credit for facilitating that.