Following a rather productive freshman season at Arizona, here’s why I think Josh Green will be the best NBA player out of the three freshmen.
Prior to the 2019-20 college basketball season Josh Green was coming off a state championship win playing for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and was considered from many basketball scouts to be a Top 10 recruit in the country for the incoming freshmen.
Although being a top prospect, he always has seemed to be in the shadow of friend and teammate, Nico Mannion.
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From a first glance, it may seem that Josh is not ready to enter the NBA Draft, as he might not be able to contribute right away. However, I feel if he goes to a good organization, with a good coach, the right situation will allow him time to grow and develop.
He has all defensive and all-star potential, and I feel his game translates the best at the next level, compared to the other freshmen in Nico and Zeke Nnaji, who are also projected to be first round draft picks.
The NBA nowadays has become what some call “position-less basketball”, where the best players in the league can switch on defense 1-5 and can play multiple positions on the offensive end too. Standing at 6-feet-6-inches, this will allow him to play shooting guard and small forward, and in today’s small-ball trend, you could even see him in some situations guarding power forward’s on defense.
This past season, Green averaged 12 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, shooting 42 percent from the field, and 36 percent from long-range. He also was very active and aggressive on the defensive end, where he averaged 1.5 steals a game, interrupting passing lanes and getting off on fast breaks showing off his impressive dunks.
I view him as a ‘Three-and-D’ type player, making high IQ decisions and helping his team in many ways that don’t always show up on the stats sheet.
With Nico, he doesn’t have a ton of size and has shown he can be shut down when being heavily guarded, taking away his three-point shot. I think he has a better chance of being a very good backup point guard for a good NBA team, rather than being a star that scores over 20 points per game game.
Out of Zona’s three freshman looking to enter the NBA Draft this summer, I think it would be best for Nico to return as a Wildcat for one more season. Where he could gain a ton of useful experience in the Pac-12 and March Madness Tournaments, after not being able to participate in them this season due to the Corona Virus.
Zeke surprised the whole college basketball world this season by winning the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. At the start of the season, I’m sure many would have picked either of his teammates for that award over him.
He has shown some flashes of a jump shot this season, but if he can be a reliable mid range shooter and become a competent three-point shooter throughout his career, he will have a successful and long NBA career.
Over the past few years, teams have been going away from using big men, as you can clearly see with the Houston Rockets, starting P.J Tucker at Center who stands just 6-feet-5-inches. That would have been unheard of 10 years ago!
One of the key things for Josh will be if he can continue to develop his jump shot. If he can become an average, to an above average long-range shooter, where a teams can look to him for big shots in a playoff game scenario, then he will be a highly valuable asset.
There is a path for all three of the Wildcats’ three freshmen (all are likely to enter this years’ upcoming NBA Draft), and all will likely be productive players in the league for many years to come. But with all of Josh’s potential, his athletic ability and size particularly, I believe that he will become the best player in the pros from the University of Arizona out of this group!