Dallas Mavericks top rookie Josh Green is from Arizona by way of Australia, so there figure to be some added emotion in Wednesday's Mavs at Phoenix Suns NBA opener.
Except maybe Josh Green is too cool for that.
“Personally, I’d love to see my family, but the trip to Phoenix is a business trip,” said Green, whose mother (Cahla) and father (Delmas) live in the Valley of the Sun. “At the end of the day, it’s a big game. It’s the start of the season for us.”
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has been showering Green with praise ever since NBA Draft night, when Dallas was excited to take the 6-6 wing with the 18th overall pick.
"He don't say nothing, man,'' Carlisle said. "He just plays.''
And due to the coronavirus pandemic, Green won't get to "say nothing'' in person at the game, anyway, as no fans (or even family) will be allowed at PHX Arena for the 9:30 p.m. CT start on ESPN.
Who will Green see? New Suns leader Chris Paul. Budding Suns superstar Devin Booker. And old pal Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 who was for one season Green's high-school teammate in Phoenix.
Green, now 20, was a dominant kid athlete in Australia, earning national acclaim in rugby, soccer, swimming, Australian Rules Football and, of course, basketball. When the Green family moved to the U.S. a few years ago, the basketball stardom continued.
He played one year at the University of Arizona, his 100-MPH motor serving as the foundation of success there - the same thing that could allow him to sneak into the rotation under Carlisle.
“He’s had a good preseason,” Carlisle said. “He’s a great practice player. He knows the game and works extremely hard. He’s a no-nonsense guy who just competes.”
Green has impressed teammates with so many positive traits, and also seems friendly and cooperative in his media visits. But Wednesday (and at the Lakers on Friday) isn't about fun in the sun.
“I can’t wait,” Green said. “I can’t wait to get out there on the court on this road trip and bring whatever I can to the table to help the team out and get some wins.”