2020 NBA Draft Watch: Josh Green fills needs for the San Antonio Spurs

EUGENE, OREGON - JANUARY 09: NBA Draft prospect Josh Green #0 of the Arizona Wildcats fills a lot of needs for the San Antonio Spurs, who are projected the 11th pick (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OREGON - JANUARY 09: NBA Draft prospect Josh Green #0 of the Arizona Wildcats fills a lot of needs for the San Antonio Spurs, who are projected the 11th pick (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
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TUCSON, ARIZONA – JANUARY 16: NBA Draft prospect Josh Green #0 of the Arizona Wildcats during the first half of the NCAA men’s basketball game against the Utah Utes at McKale Center. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TUCSON, ARIZONA – JANUARY 16: NBA Draft prospect Josh Green #0 of the Arizona Wildcats during the first half of the NCAA men’s basketball game against the Utah Utes at McKale Center. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With the San Antonio Spurs projected at No. 11 in the 2020 NBA Draft, Arizona’s Josh Green would be a good fit coming off of a solid freshman season.

Selecting in the lottery of the NBA Draft is a rarity for the San Antonio Spurs, so they need to get this right. Arizona freshman Josh Green provided a great impact on the floor for the Wildcats during the 2019-20 NCAA season.

With a +14 net rating, stout defensive possessions and a three-point shot that improved as the season went on, Green showed flashes of being a high-level 3-and-D wing. Skill-for-Skill, he matches up well against the shooting guards in his class with some of the best defensive intangibles in the entire 2020 Draft Class.

Standing 6-foot-6 with a wingspan just over 6-foot-10, Green provides excellent length and size to play both wing positions. He can help out a Spurs squad who’s in need of versatile defensive playmakers, as well as players who can spot up from three.

While Green isn’t the perfect offensive prospect, he reminds us of a Spurs player who the fans have come to love with all their Fiesta-filled hearts: Lonnie Walker IV.

Similarly to Lonnie, Josh Green is a freak athlete with high defensive upside and an offensive game that is a work in progress. Their offensive numbers in college are insanely similar, both of which have plenty of untapped potentials to work with on both ends. With plenty of comparisons to go around, Green is one of the more intriguing prospects in this 2020 Draft.

Surely he’d be a great fit wherever he goes, but one of his best fits is in San Antonio.

Next: Evaluating Green's offensive skill set

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 11: osh Green #0 of the Arizona Wildcats shoots the ball over Jaden McDaniels #0 of the Washington Huskies during the Pac-12 Conference basketball tournament. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 11: osh Green #0 of the Arizona Wildcats shoots the ball over Jaden McDaniels #0 of the Washington Huskies during the Pac-12 Conference basketball tournament. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Though he’s not perfect, Josh Green’s offensive skills work for the San Antonio Spurs’ needs at this point.

Offensively, Josh Green has a lot of work to do. He is best utilized as a spot-up three-point shooter. You don’t want him attacking the basket off the bounce, because outside of a straight line dribble to the cup, he is very limited in that aspect.

Though his “Per 40” numbers are similar to a trio of two-way players like Donovan Mitchell, Avery Bradley and Jrue Holiday, I don’t know if Green has that capability in his game at this juncture. However, the sizable amount of talent Green carries is undeniable. His success as a scorer mainly came from shooting three off the right-wing and in the corners. He shot an average of 38.6 percent from those three zones in 30 games. He made his open shots at a decent rate for the collegiate level, hitting at a near-46 percent clip.

As a slasher in transition, he is excellent, scoring at a 61.4 percent rate on the fastbreak, but he has a lot of work to do in the half-court. In that zone, his offense buckles down into being a catch-and-shoot three-point shooter and that’s about it.

The numbers, tell you what you need to know. On cuts to the basket, Green was finishing at the rim at a 44.4 percent clip. That must improve if he was to be in Gregg Popovich‘s offense that loves to work the screen game and get easy buckets off of cuts to the basket.

Josh Green has declared for the NBA draft!! pic.twitter.com/Sy9N0ENgZu

— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 10, 2020

He won’t “Wow” you with off-ball movement that leads into wide-open threes like Klay Thompson; he isn’t at that stage in his jump-shot or in his game to do so. He’s strictly an off-ball rotational spot-up shooter. There is no pull-up game is in his arsenal and he doesn’t have the ability to break a defender down to drive past them.

Green’s passing vision, in general, is a bit limited as well. He doesn’t show you a strong passing vision in the sense that he’s ahead of the play as a passer. With that said, he is a quick reactor and decision-maker, showing great swing passing in his game at times and sometimes pulling off excellent passes to the roll-man in P&R situations.

As of now, he is a great transition player and an above-average three-point shooter; one that you solely want strictly in catch-and-shoot scenarios. His limitations are what they are at this point but those two aspects of his game fit perfectly with what the Spurs need at this point of their roster.

With an offense that has adapted a bit to modern NBA offensive philosophies, the drive-and-kick has been used a lot by guys like DeMar DeRozan and Dejounte Murray. The team as a whole could benefit from Josh Green’s ability as a shooter.

Next: An exceptional defensive player

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 11: Zeke Nnaji #22 and Josh Green #0 of the Arizona Wildcats defended the rebound against Isaiah Stewart #33 of the Washington Huskies. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 11: Zeke Nnaji #22 and Josh Green #0 of the Arizona Wildcats defended the rebound against Isaiah Stewart #33 of the Washington Huskies. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

The San Antonio Spurs need defense and Josh Green could give it to them in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Green is an elite on-ball defender. His fluidity and lateral quickness in his lower half are evident when defending isolations and as a rotational defender.

As a team defender, he plays passing lanes very well. His rotations are consistently adequate and he makes the right plays as a team-defender. At times, he can overplay his man, getting caught out of position while trying to make a play, but he very rarely is taken out of a defensive possession due to his fault or mishaps.

He has a strong defensive IQ and is always one step ahead of the play defensively. Green’s IQ and ability to play one step ahead of his assignment are always evident on that end of the floor, but flash the brightest when he’s playing passing lanes. Green has terrific balance and anticipation skills on defense. He can truly be on an island and defend opposing primary scoring options.

Although he can get caught ball-watching or biting on a fake, he has excellent recovery skills and body control that allows him to stay in any play on defense.

Josh is also one of the most versatile defenders in the draft. His size and length give him a massive, versatile defensive upside. He possesses elite defensive traits that were mentioned earlier like his athletic ability, defensive IQ, recovery tactics and high-level footwork that truly can make him a defensive stopper at the next level.

With the plethora of defensive skills he possesses and size and length measurements that only benefit his playstyle, Josh Green’s closeouts and overall sellout to defend a shot are always felt by opposing teams. He has a knack for always being in a play.

That defensive upside and early stages of being an elite NBA defender shine the brightest as he is capable of defending positions 1-3, and even small-ball fours. If opposing teams are playing a small-ball lineup with a 6-foot-8 power forward, Green matches up beautifully against him, making him even more versatile and valuable to your team. He’s truly a swiss-army knife on defense, with untapped potential that can possibly put him among the NBA’s elite.

Next: How does Green fit with the Spurs?

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 11: NBA Draft prospect Josh Green #0 of the Arizona Wildcats handles the ball vs. Jamal Bey #5 of the Washington Huskies during the Pac-12 basketball tournament. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 11: NBA Draft prospect Josh Green #0 of the Arizona Wildcats handles the ball vs. Jamal Bey #5 of the Washington Huskies during the Pac-12 basketball tournament. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Josh Green simply makes sense for the San Antonio Spurs’ roster.

Projected to have the eleventh overall selection, the Spurs would be doing themselves a favor by drafting Josh Green. Late in the lottery, you’re prone to find guys who are rotational pieces rather than stars. While I don’t believe Green has a high chance to become a star due to his offensive game being a bit behind schedule, his defensive impact and ability to spot up from deep fits perfectly with the modern NBA and especially for a Spurs team that can desperately use it.

The San Antonio Spurs need defensive playmakers. Those that can defend multiple positions, make plays in the half-court and lock up in isolation. Green has that ability, and he’s only 19 years old.

The Spurs struggle offensively with spacing and defense above all else. Adding Green would give them a decent spot-up three-point shooter that’ll seemingly only progress once he gets to work with shooting coach Chip Engelland. On the defensive end, Green will give you versatility and a stout on-ball defensive presence that is needed in San Antonio.

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I believe the fit in San Antonio will be as smooth as butter on a tortilla. Green isn’t a trigger happy, initiator on offense. His playstyle is harmless on that end of the floor as he won’t command various sets and plays run for him to make an impact on offense.

Green’s best attributes offensively are off-ball movements, rotational flexibility, and a reliable jump shot from the perimeter. He would benefit from the shot creation of others. As long as he’s reading and reacting to the defense properly, he’ll be shooting open three-point shots off of the drive and kick situations or pick and roll lifts, among other things.

Defensively, we know what he brings to the table. Athletically and in terms of his archetype as a player, we know what he brings to the table.

Next. The Spurs shouldn't sleep on Jalen Smith in the 2020 NBA Draft

Green has loads of untapped potential that should he land in the right system like the San Antonio Spurs, can really become a difference-maker for this team on both ends.

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