Through all of the roster turnover this off-season, fourth-year forward Josh Green has remained with the team. Seen as a valuable trade piece if the Mavericks wanted to take a big swing, Dallas decided to stick with him as a piece of their future, according to reports. Their commitment to him is huge, as he is a player who requires confidence and belief from his team for him to succeed.
The coaching change from Rick Carlisle to Jason Kidd kickstarted his improvement, and the last two years under Kidd have seen him go from shaky bench forward to a potentially starter-caliber “three-and-D” player. He is coming off of career-highs in almost every statistical category, including 9.1 points per game and 40.2 percent from three. With the shakeup of forwards during the summer, Green is poised for another leap.
Coming off of a disappointing season, Dallas has a lot to prove. Specifically, they have to prove to themselves that they can return to their team defense level from the 2021-22 season. Kidd’s defensive scheme is a large reason why Dallas made the Western Conference Finals, and maybe a reason why they regressed last season as well. It requires lots of movement and individual ability to make the right rotation, and this means they need multiple guys who can guard in space.
Green is one of those guys, which means Dallas needs him on the floor. However, his offense has been the question mark of his career. Even after a good year, Green still has a long way to go. Can Josh Green make another leap in year four? Is he going to be able to defend at a high level while also taking a step forward on offense? The team needs him to be a great shooter and a shot-creator so they can utilize him defensively. His upward trend has been encouraging, but the biggest question is whether or not he will plateau or continue his hike toward becoming an NBA starter.
Best Case Scenario
The Mavericks are in a position to make some noise. For them to do that, they need excellent production from their forwards. More specifically, they need to hit on Josh Green. Trading away Dorian Finney-Smith in February was a gamble, but after Green had 29 points toward a win in Utah, it looked like Dallas had made the right choice. His production tailed off towards the end of the year, but there were still signs of that next step. In a best-case scenario, Josh Green becomes that consistently. Not necessarily 20 or more points a game, but the potential to give you 20 on any night, while averaging around 13 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Ideally Green fully develops a pull-up jumper, fine-tunes his handle, and continues to provide energy on the offensive glass and defensive end. A leap like this would help propel Dallas from a potentially good team to a team capable of going back to the conference finals.
Worst Case Scenario
Sadly, the worst-case scenario is not out of the realm of possibility for Green too. There is a world in which he does not improve, or even regresses, and looks like a 12th man. He is coming off a World Cup where he averaged just 8.2 points, two rebounds, and 1.4 assists in nearly 20 minutes a game. Perhaps the expectation from his Australian coach did not coincide with Jason Kidd’s, but maybe Green just does not have as high of a ceiling as the Mavericks have suggested. A doomsday for Green would mean the World Cup was indicative of his improvement level and that he played just as limited as he has been in years past. If he cannot show up to camp as a better offensive player, he could eventually be banished to a bench role behind rookie Olivier-Maxence Prosper.
The goal for Green this season should be to actively try to be a creator. The Mavericks desperately need guys who will attack off of swing passes and kick-outs, and Green has got to be one of the guys to do it. Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith too often caught the ball and stood instead of continuing the movement by attacking. Green should be looking to attack every chance he gets and create his own shot when the flow allows for it. Every dribble pull-up, hard drive, and cross-court skip by Green takes some focus off of Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic and redirects it toward the ball. These little plays add up over the course of a game and a season and if Green can become a serious threat to create, Dallas’ offense will be right back at the top of the league.
There is no sugar-coating it, this is the biggest year of Green’s career. As a rookie, Rick Carlisle had him in the doghouse. When Kidd took over, he gained new life and built upon that last season. Now there are expectations and the requirement for him to get better in order for Dallas to succeed. He is eligible for a contract extension and if the Mavericks are going to give it to him, he needs to show that he isn’t the same player. Green was the 18th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and this is his year to show everyone that he deserved to go that high.