Season in review
This was the make or break season for Josh Green, the energetic wing who showed little in terms of consistency in his first two seasons. Each player’s developmental timetable is different, but there’s no doubt Green had to showed marked improvement this season.
After shooting a decent 36-percent from three in the 2021-22 regular season (just 78 attempts) Green was exposed in last year’s Western Conference Finals run. He appeared in 16 postseason games in 2022, mostly used to create chaos for the opponent, but was left on an island to shoot and rarely connected. His 22.7-percent from deep in those games was worrying, and in some ways felt like a coffin-nail in his trajectory of being a reliable wing in Dallas.
But jump to the start of this season and we suddenly witnessed a new Green. His three-point shooting did improve, hitting 40-percent on 169 attempts (91 more attempts than the previous season), but the biggest change was his confidence with the ball. Green had a habit — and still does in moments — of getting caught overdribbling and under-committing to wherever he found himself on the floor. This meant many jump passes through traffic or chaotic spinning floaters.
Instead this season Green was assertive, releasing his outside shot quicker, cleanly finding passing lanes, and weaponizing his athleticism and aggression near the rim. He went from going 88-of-138 (63.7-percent) in the restricted area in ‘21-’22 to 116-of-173 (67.1-percent) this year. Across the board his confidence was boosted and it reflects in his shooting numbers, with increased volume and more productivity. And in the middle of the season, especially when Luka Doncic had to miss time, Green slotted in off the bench to help handle the ball. He isn’t a natural distributor, but he’s also proving capable of making passes others can’t and does enough to keep the ball moving.
Even with all those positives Green still had stretches of regression. In his 60 games this season he scored in double figures just 22 times. Most of his issues still stem from indecisiveness, though to his credit it’s less and less.
And Green’s energy translated well on defense, even on a Mavericks team that was truly awful on that end. He isn’t yet a shutdown perimeter defender, but his fouling went down some, and he created enough disruption in passing lanes to be a threat. He wasn’t used in the highest minute lineups for the Mavericks this season, but he was in three of the team’s top five five-man units in Defensive-rating. Again, there is no defense to be proud of this season, but Green maintains potential there.
All in all this season was positive for Green, playing in 60 games (21 starts) averaging 9.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while shooting 40.2-percent from three in 25.7 minutes per game.
The most exciting week of the season for the Mavericks had to be early February, and that was in large part to Josh Green. In 11 games (eight starts) that month Green averaged 13.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. The most thrilling game of all was February 6 against the Utah Jazz, the first game after the Mavericks traded for Kyrie Irving. Having to fill gaps due to the absence of Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith, and Doncic still out with injury, Green was on another level against the Jazz. He posted 29 points, six rebounds, and two assists, while going 3-of-6 from three and 6-of-6 from the line in 38 minutes. All the potential in the Mavericks’ world was coming to fruition that night, with rookie Jaden Hardy adding 29 points off the bench, in a 124-111 win.
Green enters next season in the final year of his four-year $13.6 million rookie contract. The team exercised the final year of the deal before last season even began. He is due to make an estimated $4.7 million in the upcoming season, and then will enter restricted free agency if an extension is not agree upon.
There is a whole lot of pressure in the Mavericks front office this summer. The team has few trade chips, and little space to add pieces. That puts a player like Green in an interesting position. The team badly needs Green’s productivity and growth, but he also is one of the few true trade assets in the locker room not named Luka Doncic.
On the floor Green needs to continue to improve his ball-handling and his left hand. Depending on the future of Irving, Green may see a larger role as back-up ballhandler. He could never be a full time point guard, but developing those skillsets could be key to his overall growth.
Overall this season was a success for Green, if only for showing real improvement on the offensive end as more than a corner catch-and-shoot threat. There are areas of weakness for him on both ends of the floor — being a trusted point of attack defender and strengthening his ball-handling — the kind of things that will take him from being a rotation bench player to fringe starter. Now that he’s shown true growth, this offseason will be very important for his long-term future in Dallas as he enters his first contract year.