Can you believe that the Clippers got JaMychal Green AND Garrett Temple for Avery Bradley? Thinking about that still puts a smile on my face. The Clips traded away one of the worst guards in the NBA last season for two good veteran talents that helped more than Bradley ever did in a Clippers uniform. Wild stuff. While Temple signed with the Brooklyn Nets this summer, the Clips re-signed Green to a two-year, $10 million deal, with the second year being a player option. This signing obviously wasn’t the talk of the NBA summer, but for Clippers fans, it was a crucial and very welcomed return.
Green was a perfect fit with the identity of the team last season (dude is tough as nails and has been slept on his whole career) and that will continue moving forward. He showed a surprising ability to be a true stretch center and impact play at both ends of the floor. Hell, he even started at center in the playoffs for L.A. when Ivica Zubac wasn’t getting it done. Not only did he play out of position, he played very well doing so, averaging 11 points and 5.3 rebounds in 23.5 minutes. He shot 52.2% from three in those six games and 53.5% from the field, proving his worth to the franchise and easily earning his new contract. Now, the real work begins as the Clippers hunt rings, not just playoff appearances.
Green is an extremely useful player to have on any NBA roster due to his Swiss Army Knife versatility. He can genuinely guard 3-5, can shoot threes at an above 40% clip, is an active rebounder despite only being 6’9”, can handle the ball on the perimeter, and is nimble enough to get past slower defenders off the dribble. He can also cook in the paint if a smaller defender gets switched onto him. Finally, his defensive and offensive positioning is very solid and will help in future small ball lineups.
Green was undrafted out of Alabama in 2012 despite being a first and second team All-SEC player in his junior and senior years respectively. He became a G-League stud, playing for the San Antonio Spurs developmental team in Austin (making a G-League All-Star game in 2015) and spent a season playing in France before getting a 10-day contract in San Antonio, then another in Memphis with the Grizzlies. He made the most of the 20 games he played there in 2015 and signed long-term that summer, playing in 78 games the next season and starting 15. All the while, Green was developing his game. Mostly used in the paint in college and his early career, Green started stretching the floor, and by the 2016-17 season was taking almost two threes a game and canning them at a 38% clip. He was a bonafide starter for the late grit-and-grind Memphis teams, and was a small but useful element of their playoff runs from 2015 to 2017.
Still, Green was slept on. Part of this was probably due to the small market of Memphis, but after averaging 10.3 points and 8.4 rebounds in 28 minutes in 2017-18, Green saw his playing time dwindle for the Grizzlies early last season and his numbers decreased. I get that Memphis was trying to tank, added a franchise forward in Jaren Jackson Jr., and that JaMychal and Temple were on expiring deals, but I still don’t know who in Memphis thought it was a good idea to get a quarter year rental of Avery Bradley for them. Green is the type of player that will fit on any NBA roster and the Clippers should be ecstatic that they were able to get and re-sign him. He was perfect for last year’s iteration of the Clippers and will be an even better fit this season with the superstar additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
What makes Green a good fit for the now star-laden Clippers is not only his offensive and defensive intangibles — as well as aggressiveness, surprising straight ahead speed, strength, and toughness — but his efficiency without the ball in his hands, shooting, and on the glass. The fact that he barely needs the ball in his hands to still be effective is an awesome trait to have, as is his being able to take up multiple positions on the court and fit into almost any lineup the Clips throw out there.
In 2017-18, Green was one of the best offensive rebounders in the game, finishing 11th in the league in offensive rebound efficiency at 10.8 percent. Remember, he’s only 6’9”. Similar to how Montrezl Harrell uses his 7’4” wingspan, fantastic spatial awareness, and relentless energy to nab the ball, Green is a surprising leaper, tough, not afraid of contact in the paint, and has great instincts around the rim. This ability to pull boards away from the defense allows easy putbacks and gives the offense confidence to hoist shots, knowing there is a chance it comes back to them. Look for JaMychal to continue this stellar play on the offensive glass this season, as the Clips will almost assuredly be hoisting more than the 26.2 threes they did last season (good for only 27th in the NBA). Long shots mean long boards, which means more opportunities for offensive rebounds. Also look for some nasty putback dunks from J-Myke this year. Oh me oh my.
Want to hear a surprising stat? JaMychal Green trailed only Danilo Gallinari on the team for best catch and shoot field goal percentage at 42.4%. That placed him at 37th in the league in that category — not bad for a power forward who hoisted 3.3 threes a game and is always undersized next to his defender. This is symbolic of his ability to play without the ball in his hands. Another beautiful aspect of Green’s game is that he can truly play inside-out, as he’s deadly in the pick and roll/pop. With guards like Landry Shamet, Rodney McGruder, Jerome Robinson, Terance Mann, and Lou Williams more than likely playing with J-Myke in the 2nd unit, Green being able to provide spacing and operate as a safety blanket on a pop or roll is nice. Just as Lou and Trezz set bench scoring records with a deadly PNR, Green will add to this variety and scoring prowess as more of a pick-and-pop asset.
Green is also a major plus in transition, The Clippers were not a great transition team last season (finishing 17th in overall transition stats), but Green is a willing runner on the break, both diving to the rim or finding a cushion on the perimeter for guards to find him for an open shot. Expect this season to be a different story with regards to the Clips in transition. With perimeter defenders like Kawhi, PG, Trezz, Mo Harkless, McGruder, and Beverley getting their hands in passing lanes and not letting opposing guards breathe, guys like Green will benefit from running on the break for easy points. Green is subtly speedy and is able to beat bigger guys down the floor. Given his three-point shooting percentage of 41.3% with LA last regular season, Green will be dunking and shooting in transition all season.
JaMychal Green is perhaps one of the more slept-on players in the NBA because he was on a tanking team Memphis, only got 24 regular season games in LA, and doesn’t put up gaudy numbers. This looks to be changing, however, as he was included in the “snub” category of Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 players for 2019-20, and mentioned as one of the six most intriguing players this season for ESPN’s Zach Lowe. What Green will bring to the table in LA is exactly what championship teams need. A multi-tool, impactful, and efficient player who plays the game the right way, is tough, aggressive, and plays with a chip on his shoulder, Green is a perfect for this Clippers team. The identity fit is there, the lineup fit is there, the improvement every season is there, and JaMychal Green is here to help make the Clippers the main contender for the Larry OB this season.