The play of Memphis Grizzlies key bench contributor JaMychal Green should warrant many potential suitors.
The Grizzlies are one of those teams that are not going to back down. They play with a toughness you can’t quantify night in and night out. They are the embodiment of “Grit-n-Grind,” and are perennially one of the best defensive squads in the Association. Memphis was third in opponent points and first in opponent paint points per game this year. They also were first in overall opponent field goals made. One of the reasons for that stingy defense throughout the season was forward JaMychal Green.
The 26-year-old will end up being a restricted free agent this summer. According to Spotrac, he’s only set to make a little over $1.72 million in 2017-2018. That’s not happening. This guy has emerged into one of the best two-way bigs in the game. At 6-9, 227 pounds, his value is without question on the defensive end of the floor.
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As a true four-man, he is anything but that in today’s league. He can legitimately guard 1-4 personnel, and Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale illustrated that perfectly. At regular season’s end, only Draymond Green had more instances defending the pick-and-roll ball handler, roll man and isolation situations. For whatever reason, his defensive prowess has flown under the radar. The guy switches out with confidence, and he doesn’t waver when guarding the best players in the league. He can stay glued to wings and guards on the perimeter, which is a skillset not many true power forwards have.
He utilizes his 7-2 wingspan on those switchouts. Although he is still undisciplined at times (led the Grizz in fouls per game), his feel on the defensive end is apparent. Memphis trusted him to be a starter this season over Zach Randolph, and that’s because he can play both isolation perimeter defense and inside the paint. He’s also someone can alter shots with his length. This play highlights his value to this Grizz stingy interior defense.
Randolph can still grab rebounds with the best of them, but Green showed he’s the future as a two-way big. The post defense does need some work, but that will come with more playing time under his belt. Additionally, he’s already very effective at preventing rim run opportunities and putbacks.
However, offensively where this dude surprised some people.
Green averaged 8.9 points per night on 50.0 percent shooting this season. What was particularly notable was he knocked in 37.9 percent of his shots from three. The versatility is likely why he is going to get a huge pay day in the next few months. He is a floor-spacer, which is so invaluable in today’s NBA. I don’t think anyone saw Green being a stretch four before this season, and he was just that.
His true shooting rate was 60.1 percent. In time, he became well acquainted with the corners. JaMychal Green attempted 55.6 percent of his threes from that area, and he knocked in 42.5 percent of them. That’s such a vital shot in the pace-and-space game, and he’s developed into a three-and-D specialist that doesn’t need a lot of touches to have a significant impact. Green was second on the Grizzlies to only Brandan Wright in effective field goal percentage in the regular season.
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If he develops a bit of an off-the-dribble or back-to-basket game, his production will skyrocket. He showed glimpses of his overall development on the national stage this postseason against the San Antonio Spurs and proved he’s a tough cover when the defense is focused in on Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. He has shown he can get energy buckets in transition from putbacks and roll dunks throughout the season, too. Shockingly enough, Green actually had the best offensive rating in the playoffs for Memphis.
With the way some role players such as Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe have gotten paid recently, Memphis is going to have to match an offer sheet from the highest bidder. If the Grizzlies allow a quality two-way stretch-four walk, it’ll be a huge blow. After all, JaMychal Green made himself an NBA player through hard work and film study. Not coincidentally, this restricted free agent is going to have numerous teams hitting him up for an offer sheet in the next few months. TAKE THAT FOR DATA.
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