It hasn’t been all roses, but Josh Green is starting to turn heads and make an impact. After spending two seasons in the NBA, mired on the bench and trying to find his bearings, he’s finally getting a chance to prove himself.
Rather than looking lost on the floor, the third-year wing is starting to put together productive flashes that justify his No. 18 selection in the 2020 NBA Draft and Dallas picking up his fourth-year option. Although he’s still a little rusty around the edges, he looks like he’s evolving as a player with developing skills and confidence.
In Dallas’ most recent game, a 98-97 loss to the undermanned Denver Nuggets, Green played one of the best games of his career. He scored a career-high 23 points, making eight of his nine field goal attempts. It eclipsed his previous high of 18 points, set last season.
“I think just staying consistent with it, taking the open shots,” Green said of how he felt shooting the ball. “I haven’t been shooting the best the last four games, but I was shooting reps of one every game. [It’s] one of those things where yes, they are misses, but I was happy with how they looked. So, for me, it’s like coming out and just continuing to shoot them.”
Green is right about his recent shooting slump. Before his scoring outburst Sunday night, he shot just 33.3% overall and 12.5% on 3-pointers over his previous five games. For the season, though, he’s averaging 6.7 points on 63.6% shooting overall and 53.1% from deep.
Whether or not he can maintain his hot shooting numbers, with the occasional hiccup, is up to the opportunities he gets and the confidence he has to shoot the ball. Even if the ball isn’t going in, he’s finding other ways to impact the game positively.
One of the most apparent abilities that Green brings to the floor is his speed and athleticism. Properly managed, it can be a plus offensively and a disruptive presence on defense. He’s found a healthy balance of both so far this season.
Of all the Mavericks’ five-man lineups that have played together at least 19 minutes, Green appears in three. The net ratings of those lineups are plus-7.5, plus-33.2 and plus-47.1, per NBA.com. When he’s on the floor with Luka Doncic, the Mavericks are plus-23.1. Dallas has a net rating of plus-18.9 when Green is paired with Christian Wood.
Even with his progress, Green is still earning his opportunities. He’s played 19 or fewer minutes in most of his games this season. He’s only played more than 20 minutes five times, including Sunday, when he played 30 minutes.
Green should see his playing time increase if he can keep up his progress and continue to develop as an NBA player. Considering the work he’s put in to get to this point; it’s encouraging to see a young player growing into a solid contributor for the Mavericks.