Everything You Need To Know About Josh Green

Josh Green's athleticism, spot-up shooting, and defense make him an appealing two-wing.

One of the most glaring issues with the 2020 NBA Draft is the lack of surefire stars. Once you get past that limitation, though, the realization that it is chock-full of quality role players like Josh Green makes this an interesting draft.

Josh Green will likely never reach All-Star status, which makes the justification of him being a lottery pick more difficult. Teams that are missing a quality role player will be his best landing spot as his career range of outcomes is rather narrow. His skill set will make him at worst a decent rotation wing and, at best, a quality starter.

One of the most apparent traits of Green’s game is his athleticism. He has good footwork, quick lateral movement, and impressive explosiveness. These are all best utilized when Green can run in transition as he scored 1.19 points per possession (PPP), ranked in the 79th percentile, per Synergy.

Once Green realizes he won’t be involved in the rebound, he immediately takes off towards the other end. Quality passing big men and rebounding guards will love playing with Green because he will continuously provide them with an outlet to run in transition for an easy score.

In the below clip, we see a great example of Green’s eagerness to run. Green initially contests the outside shot and knows that the rebound isn’t coming his way. Instead of waiting for the offense to develop, he immediately takes off in the other direction for an easy dunk.

This mentality allows Green to catch opponents sleeping as they don’t retreat on defense with him. Even when they do retreat, Green has excellent body control to avoid contact or make the unselfish play to set up a teammate.

Here, we see how Green does a great job of selling the defender that he is going for a dunk. With Green’s explosiveness, this isn’t out of the question. As Green takes off, the defender extends to block the dunk. Instead, Green’s body control allows him to hang, double-clutch, and finish with a layup.

Green also could have set up his teammate for an easy layup here. Even though he chose not to, Green is frequently an unselfish passer despite not being a traditionally good playmaker.

In the below clip, we see Green set up his teammate in transition. Green could have used his athleticism here to finish through the defender. Instead, Green waits for the defender to commit to him and then drops a well-timed bounce pass to set up the easy dunk.

Green’s unselfishness also translates to the half-court offense. Green won’t be running a team’s offense, but he can make the extra pass when needed. In the below clip, we see Green attack the rim with one of his excellent straight-line drives. Once he beats his man with ease, the help defender has to rotate. Green uses his eyes to fake the shot, which gets the defender up in the air. Instead of trying to finish through contact, Green makes a well-timed drop off pass for an easy dunk.

This simple playmaking from Green is an unfortunate necessity in his game right now due to his ineffectiveness at the rim. Despite being an excellent straight-line driver, Green only scored .786 PPP (8th percentile) around the rim. His touch is inconsistent, and he actively avoids finishing with his left hand.

Green’s driving ability and body control are impressive, but if he continues to try to finish similarly to the below clips, he will continue to struggle. In both clips, Green does a great job of initially beating his man off the dribble. He proceeds to alter his body to use his right hand instead of his left. The result is two off-balance shots that have no chance of going in.

By improving his ability to finish at the rim, Green will be able to diversify his off-ball offense game tremendously. With Green’s athleticism and perimeter off-ball movement, he should be a much more effective cutter. While he only cut 6.8% of the time this season, he scored an embarrassing .808 PPP (9th percentile).

This ineffectiveness is frustrating because his frame, explosiveness, and footwork suggest that we should have more examples like the below clip. This opportunity comes from a broken play after Arizona beats the press, but it is an excellent example of how Green can operate in space. He does an excellent job of filling the vacated middle of the floor. Once he receives the pass, Green executes a perfectly timed spin move against the defender’s momentum for an easy layup.

Everything about that play is what you hope Green can show more of. He has good activity, and his footwork is superb; he needs to be more effective at the rim and willing to fill the lane.

Besides consistently finishing at the rim, Green, at times, also struggles with his ball-handling. This difficulty affects his at rim finishing but also muddles his shooting mechanics as he scored just .424 PPP (9th percentile) when he shot off the dribble. Even though he is a particularly good straight-line driver, if Green has to use a countermove, he struggles to create much space.

In the below clip, Green shows how his sloppy handles affect his drive. Green has a quick first step that gets his defender on his hip. If Green had any confidence with his left, he might have finished with it here. Instead, he tries to shake his defender with a behind-the-back dribble. This dribble gets away from him, which allows the defender to recover. Green is then in an awkward position with his back to the basket. Green proceeds to throw up a wild, heavily contested shot that has no chance of going in.

Green’s skillset will limit him to an off-ball scorer. His at rim finishing limits his cutting ability, but he has proven that he is a quality off-ball shooter. This season Green scored 1.023 PPP (78th percentile) when spotting up and 1.203 PPP (85th percentile) when shooting off the catch. His catch and shoot numbers skyrocket as well when he is left open as he scored 1.512 PPP (94th percentile).

When shooting off the catch, it is easier for Green to keep his mechanics fluid and consistent. His floor awareness is also on display as he has a knack for sliding into the open pockets on the perimeter, as we can see below.

Green initially rotates to the top of the arc to give his teammate a more accessible pass if he looks to swing the ball. His teammate decides to throw an entry pass to the post instead. As the pass gets made, Green knows that his current positioning makes him completely ineffective because his teammate and a defender are between himself and the ball. To make himself a viable option, Green promptly rotates to the elbow, where he receives the pass for an open three.

Green is an excellent safety net to have on the wing. He is automatic when given space, and he has an innate sense of where to be to receive a kick out from a post-up or drive.

While Green is limited as mostly a spot-up scorer on offense, he is very versatile on defense. With his size, speed, and overall athleticism, Green is a multi-positional defender from day one.

Green is a strong on-ball defender who can disrupt ball handlers. He only allowed .429 PPP on jumpers in isolation, .684 PPP when defending the pick-and-roll, .462 PPP on mid-range jumpers, and .923 on three-point jumpers. Green can stay with opponents and react quickly enough to disrupt their shot using his footwork and explosiveness.

Green is the most impactful on defense, however, when he is defending off-ball. There are times when he can over-help when he is just one pass away, but generally, he does a great job of denying the ball and jumping passing lanes.

In the below clips, we can see some examples of Green’s effectiveness off-ball. He does a great job of staying close to his man while still in an excellent position to deny a back cut. He not only deflects the pass, but he also tips it to a spot where he can chase down to run in transition.

Going forward, Josh Green has all the tools to be a high-quality two-way starter. If he can improve his at-rim finishing, his offensive ceiling will drastically rise. His game is reminiscent of Gary Harris and Wesley Matthews. Both of them are good wing defenders and make an impact as off-ball scorers.

With a lottery pick, fans expect more than just a quality role player; they want star potential. This draft offers very little of that, though. The strength of this draft is the future role players who will come out of it, and Josh Green could be one of the best two-way wings from this draft.

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