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2018-19 Clippers Exit Interview: JaMychal Green

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JaMychal Green played a shockingly important role for the Clippers down the stretch of the season after he arrived from Memphis, endearing himself to the fanbase in the process.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Key Information

Name: JaMychal Green

Age: 28

Years in NBA: 4

Position: Power forward/center

Key Stats:

2018-19 with Clippers: 24 games (2 starts), averaging 8.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 0.6 assists, and 0.5 steals in 19.6 minutes per game. His shooting splits: 48.2/41.3/81.0

2018-19 Salary: $7.867 million

Future Contract Status: Green, who was acquired from the Grizzlies in February, is an unrestricted free agent in 2019-20.

Summary

It was Summer League in 2013 when the Clippers first got acquainted with JaMychal Green. He started four games and played 21.3 minutes per game, and it seemed new coach Doc Rivers, who was acquired by the Clippers a few weeks earlier, was intrigued. That was the “Reggie Bullock Summer League”, when the goal was to get Bullock as many minutes and shots as possible. However, Green left an impression. I remember most Clippers reporters at the time discussing how Green and his ability to pick-and-pop and do the dirty work inside must be good because the Spurs were interested a year earlier.

Of course, it took nearly seven years for the Clippers to actually acquire Green, who was no longer a diamond in the rough but actually a competent role player in the league. Still, seeing Green sort of master those things that stood out in 2013 and seeing his range expand beyond the 3-point line must have felt somewhat redeeming for the Clippers.

Green was an integral part of their late-season run, and when the Clippers flexed their best lineups in the postseason, he was arguably one of the team’s most reliable ingredients as a small-ball power forward and center who could stretch the floor and play both perimeter and interior defense.

Strengths

Green showed why Memphis gave him $16 million over two years to keep him after a prolonged holdout in 2016. He fit with the Clippers’ tough, take no prisoners attitude. He stretched the floor on offense with a reliable outside shot, and showed a viable post game when smaller players switched onto him. Defensively, Green worked with the Clippers’ starters because he was unafraid to matchup with opposing bigs when Rivers downsized, and could offer a switchable center who wouldn’t get embarrassed on the perimeter. He always played hard, never put his head down, and just generally was very competent while on the court.

Weaknesses

Green has lapses from time-to-time as a decision maker. He could improve as a passer. He got into foul trouble in the playoffs, often times because he would commit 1-2 fouls per game that were unnecessary. To his credit, he was put in an untenable position, often being called upon to guard Kevin Durant, which he was capable of masquerading with effort and length.

He’s also 28, which, to some extent, means he is not necessarily in line to develop a lot more. However, his growth over the past four years might bode well to see some minor improvements to ball-handling and decision-making as he plays in more big moments.

Future with the Clippers

Green is an unrestricted free agent and could be a casualty of the Clippers’ grand ambitions. Still, he is someone that you would certainly want back as seventh or eighth guy in the rotation. There is some optimism that he would like to return (who wouldn’t), considering he recently posted an Instagram photo of himself in a Clippers uniform imploring his teammates that it was time to get to work in the offseason.

Final year grade: B

Green’s abbreviated stop in L.A. was impressive enough to consider him someone the organization should keep this offseason. He likely exceeded expectations in such a small sample size, but he was also arriving after a weird situation in Memphis in which he was playing virtually the same role as a heralded rookie in Jaren Jackson Jr. I’m bullish on Green, and would expect the organization is as well because he fits their M.O. and their payroll.