JaMychal Green’s match with the Warriors
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It was not surprising to hear the crying and grinding of teeth after the Golden State Warriors had lost two of the most important role players in their history.
Warriors fans treasure the role players, especially those who play hard and produce. These role players often use the Warriors to help them find redemption and value renewal. Once they have achieved that goal, other teams make more compelling offers to take them home in an effort to be stronger and weaker than their rivals.
Gary Payton II, a journeyman who built a reputation for himself as one of the top perimeter defenders in the league, will be missed. Donte DiVincenzo will take his place. Although he may not be as good as Payton II, he will try to do what Payton II did . He also has the advantage of being an outside shooting threat.
JaMychal Green, the Warriors’ 6’8″ veteran signing, is a striking example of the former Warrior Otto Porter Jr.
They are both what I call “power wings”, and have enough size to make an impression as pseudo-bigs.
They can also be agile enough to make the most of their matchups as either stretch forwards or long stoppers with the necessary know-how to be effective team defenses.
Both are floor spacers. However, Porter Jr. is a 40-year-old long-range shooter who has made 3.3 attempts on his career. This gives him a significant advantage in raw numbers. Green is downgraded by 36.6% for 2.2 attempts beyond the arc in his eight-year career.
Green’s last stint with the Denver Nuggets wasn’t the best shooting experience of his career. Last season, he only managed to drill 26.6% of his threes in 1.9 attempts. This is not including his first season in league (only 24 games), which was a career low.
Although it’s possible to conclude that Green was having shooting difficulties last season, it’s equally plausible to view such woes in a negative light. There are no setbacks, whether they be age-related, injury-related, or otherwise. It’s hard to not imagine the type of peak he might reach with a top-heavy roster.
His 2018-2019 season was undoubtedly his best. He shot 40.3% with nearly three attempts per game beyond the arc. This was split between stints at the Memphis Grizzlies (41 matches, 39.6%, on 2.3 attempts) or the Los Angeles Clippers (24) games, 41.3%, on 3.3 attempts).
Green’s shot-drilling exploits in the first round 2019 playoffs when the Clippers defeated the Warriors to six games is the most infamous memory among Warriors fans. Green was a blistering 52.2% on threes, shooting 12-of-23.
Green isn’t the best long-range shooter. Green’s attempts to shoot beyond the arc in the 2019 series, 20 out of 23 total, were catch-and-shoot. They were either considered “open” (closest defense 4-6 feet away) and “wide open” (6 feet or more away).
The percentage of his career three point makes that were assisted is the best indicator of his catch-and shoot nature. It’s 98.7%. All threes of his threes have been assisted in the past three seasons, according to Basketball Reference.
Although it may seem like there isn’t enough variety, Green’s highly-specialized offense role may prove to be sufficient. He’s known for his penchant for punishing inattention and won’t get most of the defensive attention.
On a team that generated plenty of threes last season — the Warriors were 10th in corner-three frequency and 2nd in above-the-break-three frequency last season — Green profiles as an additional weapon in their arsenal of snipers, one that drilled 43.4% of his corner shots and 39.3% of his above-the-break attempts during the 2018-19 season.
Those numbers were repeated during his 2020-21 Nuggets stint: 42.1% for corner shots and 39.0% for above-the-break attempts. Per Synergy, his 1.26 points per possession (PPP) on catch-and shoot looks was 22nd out of 117 players (minimum150 attempts).
His efforts with the Nuggets might be more representative of how he would appear within the Warriors’ pass-heavy offense. Nikola Jokic is a rare combination of play connector and play finisher with a lot of self-creation skills. This threat creates many advantages on offense and Green ate up the opportunities created by his MVP teammate.
Stephen Curry is an advantage creator of a different kind. Although he may not be a high-post threat, his extraordinary gravity off the ball as well as his ability to dribble penetrator paint touches is comparable enough that Green can place himself in valuable real estate and have the space and time to skyrocket it’s value.
Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson are additional advantage-generating threats. This is especially true in 2nd-unit lineups, where Green will likely see most of his minutes. Green will also project to eat more this season. Last season, Green’s shooting was subpar due to the absence of Jokic and additional offensive threats (i.e. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.).
Green can be a skilled cutter, even though it doesn’t feature as often as his outside shooting. Jokic is a teammate, so it’s almost mandatory that you can be at least decent as an occasional cutter. Green has shown himself to be a reliable and capable player finisher on such possessions (1.327PPP in 2020-21, 57th%) — especially when screening for his gravity-generating teammates, and then slipping.
(Notice how his possessions as “cutter” consisted mainly of dunker spot finishes — not too different from a Kevon Looney type role in situations where Draymond has previously cut defenses up in the quick roll after Curry draws two bodies about a ball screen.
Green’s defensive performance isn’t particularly impressive. He is a good help-side defender and switchable.
Although it’s not his strongest skill, he can still defend an individual on-ball player. Green can be a good substitute for Porter Jr. in a pinch. He can help prolong possessions and allow his teammates to support him.
Green, like Porter Jr. may have a strong suit as a team defender. He is alert and aware, and keeps his eyes on the ball and his man.
Green, in particular, is the weak-side low guy who is tasked with being the first line for help defense. He may not be a great shot blocker with 0.4 blocks and 1.9% rate in his career, but he can change shots by reading the right information and being fundamentally sound and timely with his rotations.
Their rebounding metrics are the only thing that Green and Porter Jr. have in common. Porter Jr. averaged 9.5 rebounds for 75 possessions, with 2.3 offensive rebound per 75 possessions. Green pulled in 9.5 rebounds for 75 possessions, and Green had 2.8 offensive rebound per 75.
The rebounding rates for Porter Jr are similar to Green’s 14.2% for total rebounds, and Green’s 14.5% for offensive rebounds. Green had an advantage of 6.9% over his predecessor (8.6%).
Green isn’t a particularly good home run, with the free-agent market rapidly drying up and options becoming increasingly limited. Home runs are not necessary, as there are plenty of heavy hitters on the roster. Green is more of a contact hitter who can help the Warriors in an auxiliary role.
The Warriors’ recent season has been marked by low-cost and potentially high-reward moves. With the success of Porter Jr., Payton II, it paid off. Green, DiVincenzo and the rest of this ethos are their continuation.
This philosophy, which has seen success with the equity that the front office has amassed — culminating in the recent championship — deserves another chance at success.