Australia has been producing more and more talent as of late and the next player to carry the torch for basketball Down Under is 6'6" wing Josh Green.
While he started his basketball journey in Sydney, he's been able to take advantage of both the tremendous Australian youth development system as well as the advanced high school and college structure of America.
Green played for basketball powerhouse IMG Academy in Florida and in doing so established himself as one of the best players in the class, ultimately accepting an offer to Arizona over schools like North Carolina and Villanova.
There, Green was able to show his potential as a future NBA pro.
Powerfully built at 210 pounds and the prototypical size for an NBA wing it is easy to see why scouts have been high on him for years. One of the younger players in the 2020 draft class the sky's the limit and he's far from reaching the peak of what he could be. And, with plus size and athleticism, it's tough to imagine him failing at the NBA level. As teams continue to load up on wings to comply with the modern style of play, Green will be a player to watch out for.
Where Green shines the most is on the defensive end. It's easy to look at a 6'6" wing and just assume that player is a difference-maker on defence but when it comes to Green he not only reaches those expectations but soars past them.
Green is long and athletic but he doesn't lean on those gifts to be an impactful defender. Instead, he relies on lightning-quick feet, the kind you'd expect to see on a ballerina and not a chiselled 6'6" basketball player. Green's lateral quickness is a sight to behold as few players of his build can slide side-to-side as seamlessly as he can. Additionally, his hip flexibility allows him to change directions with smaller guards which is a problem for many big wings-even the ones lauded for their defence.
Anticipation is huge for players who are going to contribute defensively in the NBA.
Offensive players are too good at the highest level for defenders to simply react and young players making the leap need to be able to diagnose actions and actively jump to make plays-something Green is fantastic at. You'll see this often when it comes to him predicting the direction of drives and you'll also see it when he shoots passing lanes hunting for deflections. Averaging 1.5 steals per game in his lone season at Arizona he was effective at turning opponents over and those active hands will serve him well in the NBA.
Offensively Green showed the capacity to knock down the three hitting 36% of his attempts.
His ability to camp out on the weak side of the floor and punish his defender for leaving is something he'll need to do in the NBA as an offensive role player and in college, it also helped set up another big part of his offensive game. Defenders being hesitant to leave Green for an open three often meant playing him too tight and when that happened he excelled at cutting off the ball, often coming away with layups or highlight-reel dunks. Green doesn't project to be a top offensive initiator in the NBA but he knows his role and thrives playing away from the ball. When paired with the elite passers of the NBA, finding a couple of easy buckets a game should be no problem for him.
With the ball in his hands, Green has one of the silkiest pull-up jumpers in the class, especially from the midrange. While the midrange attempt is largely dying in the NBA the ability to hit these shots still holds value at the end of a shot clock or late in a game where defences are clamping down, and the touch Green shows on these attempts may offer a view into the future where those same mid-range shots end up stretching out to the 3-point line.
The pull-up is also important to Green's offensive game because he's so explosive when driving that when he gets moving, defenders want to sag into the paint as quickly as possible. Green's development of the pull-up game was a response to seeing so many sagging defenders and he's been able to punish them with his new weapon.
Even though he's not a big-time pick and roll initiator or someone who needs the ball in his hands a ton, Green's passing is underrated. When the ball is swung to him it never sticks in his hands and he has the vision and offensive IQ to make a tight-window skip pass or a bounce pass into the post instead of a routine swing. As teams move towards positionless basketball, having capable passers on the wing is going to be of greater importance and Green is someone who can provide secondary playmaking.
While Green's shooting percentages were acceptable in college his form doesn't look great and he struggled with NBA-range threes last season-something that's concerning when it comes to projecting him as an NBA shooter. The release is a bit mechanical with a bit of a slow slingshot-type motion and it could be difficult for him to get it off in time when a defender is closing out to him.
For someone as long and explosive as Green you would expect him to be a great interior finisher but that wasn't the case in his one-and-done season in college.
There were a few problems that arose from his finishing at the rim. First, he didn't seem to keep two hands on the ball for long enough as he loaded up and leaped, which didn't allow him to have full control of it and sometimes led to awkward attempts. Secondly, he isn't confident in his off-hand and that made for some ugly layup attempts or avoidance of taking the shot entirely. All in all, he lacked much of a finishing package around the rim, definitely a knock on his ability to score.
Green lacks a bit of offensive creativity. His game can look pretty mechanical. He drives when a lane is wide open and he passes if there is resistance. There is some benefit to his north-south game as he doesn't make many mistakes by trying to force anything but sometimes when you watch him play, you're just left wanting a little bit more.
Teams with a high first-round pick may desire some more upside from their pick, and many will see Green as just a complementary player that doesn't bring the excitement they're looking for.
Projected NBA Draft Range: 14-18
Projected NBA Role: 3-and-D wing.
NBA Comparison: More athletic Jae Crowder
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