Josh Green seems like a match made in basketball heaven for the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavs used the No. 18 overall pick in Wednesday’s NBA Draft to select the University of Arizona shooting guard.
A 6-6, 210-pounder, Green averaged 12 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.5 steals in 30 games for the Wildcats last season. It was his only year playing college basketball before he declared for the NBA Draft, but that one season was more than enough to convince the Mavs they wanted Green on their roster.
The Mavs used their other draft pick — No. 31 overall — to select Stanford point guard Tyrell Terry.
Coach Rick Carlisle said he didn’t know if there’s an exact player already in the NBA who Green compares to.
“But the qualities that we need in this draft choice, we wanted to draft a guy that had size, athletic ability, competitiveness, an NBA skill, which is his ability to shoot the ball with range,” Carlisle said. “We’re looking for a guy that can potentially be a rotation player for us.
“We think that because of his experience and because of his background and the type of person he is, that he has the opportunity to compete at that level.”
Green is looking forward to putting down some roots in Dallas and becoming a mainstay in the Mavs’ rotation.
“I’ve always watched the Mavericks from a young age,” Green said. “They’ve always been dominant in the Western Conference.
“For me to say that I’m a part of the organization is crazy. It’s an unreal feeling.”
Green was born in Sydney, Australia, and by the age of 10 he was such a natural athlete that he represented his home state of New South Wales in nine separate sports. When he was in the sixth grade, Green was the captain of the New South Wales metro state under-12 team to a national title.
But in November of 2014, Green and his family pulled up stakes and moved to Phoenix,
The Mavs are hoping Green — he turned 20 this past Monday — will be able to flex his muscles and help them shore up their perimeter defense.
“We’re pleased we had the opportunity to draft Josh Green,” Carlisle said. “He’s a terrific two-way player, terrific athlete.
“Coming off of last year our offense was historically great. We need to get our defense better, and some of it is going to be the kind of work that we put in during training camp,. But the other part of it is when we draft and when we acquire players, we want to acquire players with that mindset and with that ability.”
And Green has that ability that the Mavs covet.
“We had a terrific interview with him about two weeks ago, and watched a lot of the film on him,” Carlisle said. “What we needed first for our roster are wing defenders that can shoot and score, and hopefully can make plays, and we feel like he’s a ready-to-go 3-and-D guy.
“And we also feel he has the ability to make plays. Those were some of the reasons we like him so much.”
Carlisle said he and other members of the Mavs’ upper management recently spoke with Green on a Zoom call, and walked away thoroughly impressed.
“He did a terrific job,” Carlisle said. “We like his size, his strength. We feel he plays with an edge. The ability to shoot the ball is very important, and he was a very good 3-point shooter in college.”
Green, who shot 42.4 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from 3-point range last season, came away from the meeting with the Mavs all fired up.
“My meeting with them, I felt like it was amazing,” he said. “They’re really down-to-earth, good people. I just felt like I got along with them very well, and you could tell they take their player development very serious.
“I was super pumped, and I loved the Mavericks. It’s something I continued to stress to my agent — what are the Mavericks thinking, what about this? So I’m stoked right now.”
Green also is stoked about playing with point guard Luka Doncic, who is only 21 years old.
“I mean, first of all, Luka is an amazing player,” Green said. “Being his age, doing what he’s doing, it’s
awesome. He’s an unselfish player and overall just looks like a great teammate.”
Carlisle also said some in the Mavs’ organization spoke with former Mavs guard Jason Terry, who became an assistant coach at Arizona earlier this year.
“I did not talk to JET about Josh Green, but I know that some other people on our basketball staff did,” Carlisle said. “There’s all sorts of work that’s done when you prepare for an NBA Draft. You’ve got to do all kinds of background check, you’ve to check out everything you can about the program he was at, interaction with teammates, all those kinds of things. This kid checked out extremely well.”
Green already has mapped out some goals he would like to achieve during his NBA journey.
“Just to continue to get better every day,” he said. “I think a lot of players take for granted the draft. Now I want to continue to make my legacy, continue to grow as a player, continue to develop and just learn as much as I can.”
And that’s not the only thing.
“I think just coming from the get-go, I think my biggest thing is just going to be able to bring a hard-working atmosphere, being competitive, working, trying to continue to grow as a player,” Green said. “Learning from the older guys on the team and just bringing everything on the defensive end and doing whatever I can to help the team out.”
Obviously, being a rookie, Green knows he’s an unfinished product. But he’s more than willing to put in the work in order to make himself a household name.
“I think for anybody, they’re going to have stuff they need to work on,” Green said. “But for me, I
need to focus on the things the team needs. If I’m able to play defense, continue to work as hard as I can, hit open shots and do what the team needs to do, I feel like that happens.
“And as far as the rest of my game, as far as maybe creating a shot, I feel like that comes over time with player development and also respect from your coach.”
Carlisle said Green already is a proficient ball-handler and playmaker, and also knows how to attack the rim with authority.
“We’ve seen him do all those things with some efficiency,” Carlisle said. “When you’re not the point guard on a college team, college teams tend to be more heavily ball-dominated by the point guard. So you don’t see as much playmaking by nature.
“But he was a (shooting guard) at Arizona with size, and he did make plays off the dribble, and he was strong. (He also was a) good free throw shooter and good defender.”
After a short stint playing prep basketball in Phoenix, Green transferred to Florida in 2017, where he played at the same IMG Academy that produced Mavs center Dwight Powell. Green also joins a list of six other foreign players who played for the Mavs last season.
“That’s not the reason we drafted him,” Carlisle said. “We drafted him because of his ability, his character and his game. Our team is very diverse if you look at our roster in terms of where guys are from.”
Green anticipates feeling right at home with so many international players as his new teammates.
“I think being in a situation like that, it’s a lot of international players, so it’s awesome,” he said. “They’ve got superstars in (Kristaps) Porzingis and Luka. So just being in that environment and continuing to grow every day, it’s awesome.”
With no summer league, and with training camp expected to start in the first week of next month, Carlisle knows Green will have to hit the ground running. But he believes he’ll have no problem catching up to the way the Mavs handle their business.
“One of the reasons we were drawn to Josh was that he has a level of maturity,” Carlisle said. “He’s an international player by nature – probably a little more worldly than your average college draft prospect.
“In this kind of a microwave type situation, we feel he’ll be as well prepared as you can be to start testing. And when we test towards the end of the month, then it’ll be individual workouts, and then we’ll be into team training camp. The turnaround from draft night to participating in regular veteran NBA training camp will be around two weeks – maybe a little bit longer. It’s extremely challenging, but we feel he’s up to it.
“In our range, Josh is the guy that was at the top of our list. We’re very happy with this pick.”