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2016 Clippers Exit Interview: Jeff Green

The 2016 exit interview series continues with mercurial forward Jeff Green.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Jeff Green

Age: 29

Key Stats: 27 games played (with Clippers), 10 games started, and 26.3 minutes per game (would have been a career low over a full season). 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.7 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game on 42.7/32.5/61.5 shooting.

Years in NBA: 9 (missed a season due to heart surgery)

2015-2016 NBA Salary: $9,200,000

Future Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent, Clippers have Bird rights

Summary: The Clippers traded for Jeff Green on February 18 using Lance Stephenson's contract and a protected future 1st round draft pick (likely to be sent in 2019). He was acquired largely due to the looming shadow of Golden State and their "Death Lineup" of wings who can switch with each other at every position. Jeff Green, once thought of as a "tweener" earlier in his career, now seemed like a perfect candidate to match up with Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, or even Draymond Green. Sadly, due to no fault of Green's, the Clippers season fell apart in the 1st round, and they never even made it to the Warriors. Thus, the Jeff Green trade looks like a failure as of right now.

Strengths: Jeff Green is one of the most complete packages of size and athleticism in the NBA. At 6'9 and 235 pounds he is large enough to defend any wing in the NBA, and his incredible leaping ability means he can make ridiculous plays on either end. Jeff throws down a truly thunderous dunk every other game or so, and some of his rejections on defense are equally as emphatic. When he gets hot from outside, clearing space for him to drive, Jeff can put up scoring totals in the 20s with ease. While not a passing maestro by any stretch, Green is not a black hole either. He is a perfectly fine NBA rotation player, and can start if need be.

Weaknesses: Jeff Green is also one of the most maddeningly inconsistent players in the game today. Honestly, he is one of the more frustrating players in recent NBA history. Three different teams acquired him as the "missing piece" to push them into championship contention; each has been disappointed. His three point shooting is streaky at best (career average of 33.9, almost exactly NBA average), and he is willing to settle for jumpers far too frequently. Jeff's handle has never developed enough to get him to the rim on a consistent basis, enabling defenses to sag off. Frustrating lack of attention on the defensive end plagues him to giving up bunches of points despite his natural gifts. For all his size and athleticism, he has somehow been an average at best rebounder for his career. The Clippers acquired him to play some stretch four, and his rebounding (and free throw shooting, weirdly) took a tumble. Simply put, teams never know what they are getting out of Jeff Green on a game to game basis.

Future as Clipper: The Clippers hold Jeff's bird rights, meaning they can sign him without impacting their cap space. If he walks, the Clippers can't replace his spot at all. Because of this, it would be foolish for Doc to not try to work out a deal. There is no question Jeff will want in on all the new cap money, and some teams are going to be willing to offer him a lot of cash (though maybe not, as he is almost 30). Unless he wants an exorbitant amount he will probably be at least offered a deal by the Clippers. Doc also coached Green before, and the two are supposed to be close. However, it is possible that Jeff will want to go to another team. Tons of teams will have cap space, and some might offer more shots or money than the Clips. Despite all of his weaknesses, Jeff walking would leave one more hole on the Clippers roster. I hope he returns next year.

Best Moment of the Year: In Jeff's fourth game as a Clipper, on February 26 against the Kings, he scored 22 points on 9-13 shooting and 4-5 from deep. It would be the 2nd highest scoring total of his Clippers tenure, and promised a better future and deeper playoff run than what the Clips actually got. But for that one game, things looked good.