NBA

Josh Green tackles the critical offseason with flying colors

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FRISCO – Josh Green is one of the Mavericks in the middle of an important offseason.

The Australian guard has made a solid progression from a deep rookie on the bench to a second-year rotation player in a team that made it to the Western Conference Finals last season.

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Now what?

Green, who made a pit stop this week at the Frisco Athletic Center to host the Mavs Hoop Camp presented by Chick-fil-A, is entering his third NBA season with a sense of urgency — in part because of the way the last season ended.

His regular season was a good step forward. He even had a few playoff moments, like the Game 3 win that tipped Utah’s series in favor of the Mavs when he had 12 points and six assists in 19 minutes.

But in the end, it went wrong. Green was out of rotation in the West final against Golden State, seeing only a few cameo minutes. While at 9-under in the first 2 minutes of the fourth quarter of Game 4, he was called out and did not play again until the last two minutes of Game 5, at the end of the series.

Another factor that weighs on him: he knows that it is not wise to let too many years pass in the NBA without climbing the ladder of the competition.

“Third year is always supposed to be the biggest year of your (progression),” Green said. “For me, it’s just about making sure I’m ready and ready to go, which I feel I will be.

“I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m taken out of training anymore.”

That’s basically what happened in the conference finals. It wasn’t necessarily an indictment against Green. Many of the Mavericks struggled against Golden State’s stout defense and fluid offense.

But it was a boring end to another year of improvement for Green.

His scoring, rebounds, assists, minutes played, shooting and 3-point percentage have all increased in 2021-22. Of all those, his minutes and 3-point shooting were the two things the Mavericks know are hard evidence that Green is capable of more in the coming season.

Coach Jason Kidd said last season that the 6-5 Green had to “build on their foundation, which has been great.” What that specifically means is open to interpretation, but it’s clear that after losing Jalen Brunson in free agency, the Mavericks are looking for a third ball player behind Luka Dončić and Spencer Dinwiddie.

“It’s been a really big offseason for me,” Green said. “It’s the first time I’m off season, I just have to work on my game in five years because of my shoulder surgeries, the Olympics and all that.

“For me, it’s just about coming up with a really good plan and being able to develop as much as possible in the offseason. Everything is organised. The last two months have been really good. I feel like I’ve could get a lot out of it.”

Asked what Kidd and President of Basketball Operations Nico Harrison advised Green to work on, he replied, “Just keep doing what I’m doing and keep growing in my role. The opportunity will be there. It’s really up to me now to work on my game and get to training camp ready to go.

The only players so far who are in line to inherit much of Brunson’s 32 minutes per game are Green, Theo Pinson and second-round rookie Jaden Hardy.

That’s why it’s clear that the opportunity, indeed, is going to be there for Green. And we often forget that he will not be 22 before November 16. Its growth curve remains upwards.

He is preparing for this important season in Las Vegas, his offseason home. Daily training has been varied, but it’s a safe bet that ball handling has been a priority.

Next week, Green will make a return trip to Australia, the first time he’s been back to his native country since before college. He said he brings his little sister and a few other family members with him.

But before that, he participated in exercises and entertainment with about 150 children at the Frisco Athletic Center. It brought back memories for Green.

“I remember when I was a kid these encounters,” he said. “I stood in line to see Andrew Bogut in Sydney. He was on Fox Sports and there was a meet after. I went to see him. I remember that. I went to a lot of camps. I had probably 8 or 9. My dad was a coach, so I was really going to do stuff with my dad.

Now, he’s making memories for Dallas-area kids.

But the main agenda is to give each other the best shot possible to increase player turnover this season.

He spent his first two seasons recovering from the COVID-19 issues that plagued not just the NBA, but everyone. He has now reached a point where he can make the most of his first two years of professional experience.

“I feel very comfortable now – a big difference from where I was a year ago, where you’re still trying to figure things out,” he said.

He is thrilled to team up with new big men Christian Wood and JaVale McGee. But he’s also aware that one of the Mavericks’ best players from last season won’t be there.

Green and Brunson were very close to the field – and remain so.

“Obviously I’m very upset, not with Jalen but the fact that he chose the Knicks,” Green said. “But at the end of the day, he’s my boy outside of basketball. I’m very happy for him.

“I would like to continue playing with him. But I’m super happy for him and I know he will do great things there.

Twitter: @ESefko

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