With the 18th overall pick in the 2020 draft, the Mavericks selected Josh Green, despite both Saddiq Bey and Tyrese Maxey being available. The Mavericks were enamored with Green’s physical traits and potential to be a prototypical “three and D” guard. Green’s skill set was particularly appealing to the Mavericks as a bigger guard who could still guard the point of attack.
Green’s rookie season was a disaster. There are mitigating factors, which his defenders rightly point out, but it is important to be honest with one’s self: in no way was 2020-21 a step in the right direction for Green.
The first part of being a “three and D” player is being able to hit threes. Green only made four three-point shots all season, and the fact that he only took 25 threes in 445 minutes is actually more frightening for his future outlook than the number he made.
One of the biggest mistakes fans make when projecting players is assuming that because one player who previously shot poorly developed as a shooter, another player will develop similarly. Dorian Finney-Smith’s shot development is often cited as a potential path for Green, but Finney-Smith was developed in one of the few recent periods when the Mavericks were not actively trying to win. And, crucially, he was always willing to shoot.
In his rookie season, Finney-Smith shot 29.3 percent from three, but he took 6.1 threes per 100 possessions. He also had a three point attempt rate of 57.4 percent. Green shot just 2.8 threes per 100 possessions and only had a three point attempt rate of 26.9 percent. He was less than half as willing to shoot as young Finney-Smith in a league that shoots much more often as a whole.