As free agency winds down and the NBA summer league has begun, many teams across the league have finalized their core roster for the 2021-2022 season, barring any pre-season trades or late free agency signings. The Dallas Mavericks, armed with near max money this offseason, brought back Tim Hardaway Jr. on a team friendly deal and also signed 3 and D wings Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown to multi-year contracts after failing to secure an agreement with top target Kyle Lowry. While the Mavericks need for an additional ball handler was their greatest, their swift pivot and pursuit of 3 and D players who can catch and shoot was a welcome sight, especially since players of that mold fit extremely well next to Luka Doncic. The Mavericks may already have a sneaky good wing on their roster in Josh Green, a player who has yet to have the chance to show why he was a top 20 pick in the NBA Draft.
Josh Green was drafted 18th overall out of The University of Arizona by the Mavericks in 2020, ahead of more successful rookies such as Tyrese Maxey and Mavs front office favorite Saddiq Bey. In his lone college season, Green showed flashes of being a reliable 3 and D wing, averaging 12.0 ppg on 42.4% from the field and 36.1% from three. Scouting reports for Green all mentioned his ability to defend the perimeter, his potential to become a high impact one on one defender, and his ability to either catch and shoot or quickly slash to the rim. Unfortunately, Green was drafted into one of the worst situations for a rookie, as former coach Rick Carlisle’s uncharacteristic penchant for not playing rookies was abundant once again. In the 39 games Green played in 2019-2020, he averaged 2.6 ppg and 2.0 rpb on 45% shooting from the field in roughly 11 minutes per game of action. Mavericks fans clamored to see more playing time from the rookie, especially after injuries forced him into games and he showed flashes of athleticism that the team was sorely lacking.
Shortly after the season ended, Green was announced as a member of the Australian National Olympic basketball team, a high honor for a player so young. In fact, Green was the youngest member of the squad and arguably the least experienced. Mavericks fans were excited to see what the young forward could do playing for his national squad, hopefully seeing more of him in game action than they did in the regular season. Unfortunately, Green only managed to play 15 minutes across 5 games for Australia, scoring a total of 6 points with 4 rebounds. This comes as no surprise considering the Australian national team carries players such as Patty Mills, Dante Exum, Matthew Dellavedova and Joe Ingles. Discouragingly, Green received a DNP-Coach’s Decision in the teams final game against Luka’s Slovenian team which, netted the Australian’s a bronze medal.
After the Olympics, it was reported that Josh Green would head to Las Vegas to play with the Mavericks summer league team along side fellow 2020 draftee Tyrell Terry. Green has yet to play in the Mavericks’ two games, but the hope is that he will suit up in the coming games. With the Mavericks signing of two players who play similar styles to Green, what are the chances that Green sees significant (or really, any) minutes in the upcoming season? The biggest reason for optimism is the change in coaching staff. In his introductory press conference, new coach Jason Kidd specifically called out Josh Green as a player who could reap the benefits of a new player development system that will be implemented by his coaching staff:
“We feel like if we get the right guys on the coaching staff that have developed before we have done it at a very high level. … We feel that, with a little hard work and some fun, we can get a Josh Green to the next level; that’s why we’re here. We’re here to help develop. “
It’s clear that the new coaching staff sees a player that they can develop to be a cog in the machine as the Mavericks attempt to build a team around Luka and advance in the postseason. Whether Green takes the next step this season or not remains to be seen, but he has all the tools at his disposal and a coaching staff that seems eager to help him take the next step in his career.
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