JaMychal Green was perhaps the least-discussed player of the five that the Clippers received at the trade deadline. Landry Shamet won headlines for being young and a JJ Redick clone. Ivica Zubac was acquired at basically no cost from the rival Lakers. Wilson Chandler is a bigger name, and a guy who’s been on the Clippers’ radar seemingly forever, as has Garrett Temple. Nobody talked much about JaMychal Green, a reserve forward for the post-Grit-and-Grind Grizzlies, and who appeared to be nothing more than a Mike Scott replacement. It’s early, but through seven games, Green has earned himself some hearty praise.
Green’s raw numbers aren’t anything special (though they’re nothing to sneeze at either). He’s averaging 8.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.6 blocks in 19.8 minutes per game as a Clipper, numbers that are roughly in-line with his stats over the past couple seasons. Those are very solid numbers for the 7th or 8th man in the rotation, which is what Green is for the Clips. What’s been different about Green so far compared to his Grizzlies tenure has been his three-point shooting. He’s taking 3.4 of them per game (would be a career high by far), and hitting them at 41.7%. A career 36.3% shooter from deep, his current hot shooting is unlikely to continue, but the important thing is the volume. The Clippers desperately need spacing around the Lou Williams-Montrezl Harrell pick and roll, and Green has been the perfect complement thus far.
The Clippers’ revised bench unit, with Lou-Trez-Green-Temple-Ty Wallace, has been incredible so far in five games, with a 21.6 Net Rating in 45 minutes. Similarly, the hybrid bench-starters lineup with Lou-Green-Trez-Shamet-Pat Beverley has been even better in (an admittedly tiny) 14 minutes across five games, with a 49.6 Net Rating. Of course, sample sizes are a huge issue right now, but the eye test and the way the skills of those players overlaps suggests that Green will in fact be a fantastic fit with the Clippers’ best-in-NBA reserve squad. Most importantly, that Lou-Trez-Green three-man unit has a Net Rating of 9.0 in 110 minutes, a somewhat larger sample.
Green offers two things the Clippers don’t have a lot of right now. The first, as discussed above, is shooting. With Tobias Harris and Mike Scott in Philly, the Clippers have lost much of their firepower from long range. Green has been able to fill at least some of that deficit with his hot shooting thus far, and his ability to space with Lou and Trez promises many open threes in his near future. The second is size and rebounding. Green is a legit 6’9” 230, making him a bigger presence than anyone the Clippers play but Zubac (on a similar level to Trez). The Clippers are a horrible rebounding team, so the infusion of even Green’s decent ability to get boards is welcome. While not a rim protector per se, Green does offer some deterrence there, and has also shown some nice perimeter defense chops on Luka Doncic and Marcus Morris. For a team that’s undersized nearly across the board, Green offers a nice change of pace.
It’s too early to write the songbooks about JaMychal’s Clippers tenure. But through seven games, he’s been all the Clippers could have expected and more. He’s helped anchor an already great 2nd unit, fit in well with the starters when given minutes with them, and generally played solid basketball on both ends of the court. If he keeps this up, his acquisition could be one of the reasons the Clippers get into the playoffs.