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2012-2013 Clipper Player Previews: Willie Green

For three weeks this preseason, we'll be publishing Player Previews for each of the 15 players currently under contract with the Clippers. In some cases there may not be much difference from last season's Exit Interviews, but the team does have seven new faces, and there were some significant developments over the off-season for some of the returning players as well, so let's get caught up with all of them before the season starts. Today's edition, newcomer Willie Green.

Christian Petersen - Getty Images

Willie Green career stats (9 seasons)











Clips Nation heads into its fourth day of player previews with Willie Green- and he's a hard one to place. If you've been around the site for a while, you know that when we do player posts like this, we work our way from the end of the bench at the beginning all the way to the Clippers' stars at the end. Willie Green, after being acquired fairly late in the summer in a sign-and-trade deal with the Atlanta Hawks, figures to be one of the deeper bench players on the roster. So it makes sense that he should go fourth on this countdown.

But, right now, he's a starter. And depending on when Chauncey Billups returns from his Achilles injury, and depending on if Chauncey can play well without re-injuring his ankle, we could be seeing quite a few starts from Green. Generally, people seem to describe Green as this season's Randy Foye. Let's learn a little bit about the new Clipper guard.

Willie Green played for Detroit in college, winning Horizon League player of the year in 2003, before entering the 2003 NBA draft and being picked in the second round by the then-Seattle Supersonics. He was immediately traded to Philadelphia, where he played for his first 7 seasons and started nearly half of his 432 games. Then traded to New Orleans for a season, Green ended up in Atlanta last season. Even though he played only 17.4 minutes a night last year (his lowest in 6 years), Willie managed a career best 44% from three point range.

At 6'3", 201 pounds, Willie Green is your standard combo guard- a little too small to be a traditional SG, but without the skill set of a point guard. He's not especially athletic, and even though he had a career year last year he's only a 33% shooter from deep over the last nine seasons.

Where does he fit in on the Clippers? The Clippers starting guards are essentially set with Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups. The athletic monster that is Eric Bloodsoe is the third incumbent in the backcourt, joined by newcomer, and former 6th man of the year, Jamal Crawford. So, at best, Green figures to be the fifth guard on the Clippers.

So far, Coach Vincent Del Negro has shown a desire to keep his reserve backcourt intact, skipping over Bledsoe and Crawford to start Green in Billups' absence- just as VDN did last season when he started Randy Foye over Mo Williams. But that could easily change, as players like Matt Barnes, Grant Hill, Bledsoe, and Crawford are also prime candidates for that spot- and all would appear to be preferable to Green at this point.

Because of new sign-and-trade rules, the Clipper had to give Willie Green at least a three year contract to acquire him in the manner they did. While some details are still uncertain in terms of contractual guarantees and options, it would appear that Green will be a Clipper for at least the next three seasons.

You might ask- why give a multi-year deal to a player who doesn't figure to be in your rotation? But consider- why did the Clippers give Brian Cook a multi-year deal?

Wait- what's that? We... still have no idea why the Clippers gave Brian Cook two seasons to sit at the end of the bench?

Oh, well then... uhm... Ladies and Gentlemen, #34, Willie Green.