Skip to main content

Next Step: What Mavs' Josh Green Must Improve On Next Season

Josh Green has been working on his game this offseason. What all does he need to improve to take the next step?

With Luka Doncic now in the first year of a supermax contract, the Dallas Mavericks must find affordable ways to surround the three-time All-NBA First-Team guard with sufficient supporting cast talent. One of the most effective methods of doing so is to hit on draft picks and then experience progression in player development. 

The options on the Mavericks' roster for developing young talent have been limited as of late. However, there have still been opportunities to select some genuine standouts like Tyrese Maxey, Desmond Bane, or Saddiq Bey. 

Right now, the Mavericks need to get the most out of Josh Green. The team viewed the 2021-22 campaign as his "rookie" season since his opportunities were limited during his true first-year in the NBA. After seeing what worked and what didn't in a playoff setting, he has more than enough to reference for development purposes.

During the regular season, Green appeared in 67 games with career-best averages in minutes (15.5), points (4.8), rebounds (2.4), assists (1.2), and steals (0.7). He shot 50.8 percent from the floor, 57.3 percent on two-point field goals, and raised his 3-point percentage to 35.9 from 16.0. 

Green ultimately found himself getting largely factored out of the Mavericks' regular playoff rotation as their run progressed. He played an average of 4.3 minutes per game in four appearances during the Western Conference Finals. 

“Year three is always meant to be the biggest year in your (progression),” Green said. “For me, it’s just making sure I’m prepared and ready to go, which I feel like I will be.

“I don’t want to be in a situation where I get pulled out of the lineup anymore.”

Comes playoff time, if you are putting on a Dallas Mavericks uniform and it doesn't have No. 77 on it, you better be prepared to knock down open jumpers. Josh Green experienced this firsthand as the opposition tends to view him as the team's weakest spacing link by leaving him open.

Even in the three games Doncic did not play to begin the Mavericks' playoff run, Green's inability to convert from deep was a problem. The Jazz came out of the gate in their first-round playoff series daring Green to shoot. They often left him unguarded while the center roamed in the paint. It paid off early as Green shot 0-4 from deep in the playoff opener. 

Green ultimately went on to shoot just 4-21 (19.0 percent) on catch-and-shoot jumpers (half-court) during the playoffs. His efficiency was by far the worst among all 62 players who attempted at least 20 of these shot attempts in the playoffs. Nothing else matters unless he can improve in this area.

The Game 3 performance Green had against the Utah Jazz in the opening round was a great display of how the defense is made to pay when the shot is falling. He went 3-5 (60.0 percent) from deep with Rudy Gobert favoring protecting the paint on each of his makes. 

Now, when Green's shot wasn't falling, there were no shortage of examples of his reputation as a shooting liability causing a negative impact for his team's offense. There wasn't any overcoming Green's negative impact on the Mavericks' floor spacing even when attempting to do so.

The Jazz often to deploy a drop and ignore him when he was involved in screening actions. When moving off the ball, he was left open by the defense to prioritize showing more of a paint presence. With Gobert and Hassan Whiteside anchoring Utah's defense, it was important to pull them out of the paint. 

Negative outcomes are not just limited to the possessions when Green is left wide open and he misses the jumper. There were wasted possessions in the playoffs when his presence as a floor spacer wasn't fluid, resulting in some turnovers. Whether he was being left open so a rim protector could pre-rotate, or just didn't move shake up out of the corner, he has work to do to become a contributor in these situations.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

luka yell

LOOK: Full Breakdown of Dallas Mavs 2022-23 Season Schedule

Let’s breakdown some of the biggest Dallas Mavericks games of the upcoming season, including opening night, Christmas Day and much more!


Mavs JUST IN: Schedule Features 30 National TV Games

As the 2022-23 NBA calendar year progresses, stay up to date with the latest news happening around the league with our tracker.

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

LeBron James, Lakers Agree to Major Contract Extension

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will remain together longer after reaching a contract extension agreement.

There is some reason for optimism. Green's shooting history is full of low-volume performances and stretches where it's challenging to put too much stock into the percentages. However, he did make strides after the All-Star break leading into the playoffs. He shot 16-39 (41.0 percent) in 23 regular season games after the break compared to just 12-39 (30.8 percent) in his prior 44 games. 

“It’s been a very big offseason for me,” Green said. “This is my first offseason I’ve had to just work on my game in five years because of my shoulder surgeries, the Olympics and all that other stuff.

“For me, it’s just coming up with a really good plan and being able to develop as much as I can in the offseason. Everything’s organized. It’s been a really good last two months. I feel like I’ve been able to gain a lot from it.”

There is a lot to like about the positives that Green brings to the game. However, the lack of shooting threat that he poses tends to mitigate his potential for applying his strengths in high stakes games since teams often try to dare him to shoot.

By establishing himself as a legitimate shooting threat, Green would open more chances to attack off the catch for favorable outcomes. He's displayed the ability to glide through the air and convert on tough finishes when attacking in these situations. Drawing a tight closeout creates these chances and being respected as a shooter is where it starts.

Green has legitimate passing ability that typically isn't found in a role player. Whether he's making a read and delivering an accurate ball to a cutter or shooter, or attacking baseline and swinging it to the weak-side, he can do a bit of everything. When playing alongside a superstar playmaker in Luka Doncic, having role players capable of continuing the chain reaction of ball movement goes a long way. 

Another layer that Green presents to a half-court offense is the ability to counter the defense loading up by cutting. Whether it's making a 45-cut from the wing, a backdoor cut from the corner, or flashing to make himself available, he times his movement well. When needed, he can execute tough finishes in the paint, too. 

When afforded playing time, one of the areas where Green is going to make an impact is with his effort-level on defense. He has a high motor and doesn't short-change closeouts, is highly competitive when guarding out in space, and can just generally junk up a game with his energy. Again, he has to be on the floor to do these things. 

If Green can start knocking down 3-pointers efficiently at a moderate volume, it's easy to see a pathway where he becomes an important part of what the Mavericks do. He checks a lot of boxes as a complementary talent, but again, it all starts with becoming a consistent shooter. 

The NBA offseason can be a valuable opportunity for players to fine-tune shooting mechanics and add to their game. It sounds as though Green has been focused on that. How that translates to NBA game-action remains to be seen until the 2022-23 campaign tips off.

You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.

Want the latest in breaking news and insider information on the Mavericks? Click Here.

Follow on Twitter.

Follow on Facebook.