While getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs to the Los Angeles Clippers for the second year in a row was an obvious downer for the Dallas Mavericks, just being in the postseason was uplifting for Josh Green.
That’s because Green is an NBA rookie, and only one year removed from playing his only season at Arizona before the Mavs made him the No. 18 overall pick of November’s draft. Being in the bright lights of the playoffs so early in his NBA career was a joyful moment for the 6-6, 210-pound guard/forward.
“A lot of 20-year olds can’t really say that they’re in the NBA playoffs,” Green said. “So for me just being able to learn as much as I can and just being able to watch that, it’s crazy.
“I feel like I was able to learn a lot and I’m just ready to get back in the gym and take what I saw into the preparation for next year.”
Green’s rookie season was a whirlwind of epic proportions. The Sydney, Australia, native was drafted on Nov. 18 – a draft conducted virtually for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
From there, Green started training camp with his new teammates on Dec. 6. And his first of three preseason games occurred on Dec. 12 in Milwaukee against two-time Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo and the powerful Bucks.
“I think this whole year, the draft class, it was tough coming into training camp for three days and then having your first preseason game against Giannis,” Green said. “So I think overall it was a tough year, but I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.”
By Green’s thinking, the uncertainties of this season will have its benefits long-term.
“I think it’s awesome to be a part of such a crazy year,” he said. “I just take the positives out of it all.
“Obviously, COVID sucks for everybody. But it’s one of those things where hopefully it never happens again.”
Green appeared in 39 games for the Mavs this season – he started five of them – and averaged 2.6 points and two rebounds in 11.4 minutes per contest while shooting 45.2 percent. He plans to use this offseason to work on his shot and improve all facets of his game.
“I’m not too concerned about my shot,” Green said. “I’m going to continue to work on it – that’s going to be one of my biggest things to work on.
“I shot the ball well in college, I shot the ball well in high school, so for me it’s certainly going to come. People can say what they want to say, but I’m comfortable in what my shot will be like and I’m just looking forward to just working on it as much as I can and just coming back ready to go.”
But before next season comes, Green will be representing Australia at the Olympics in Tokyo starting on July 23. That’ll give him a chance to work alongside NBA players such as Ben Simmons, Joe Ingles and Patty Mills.
“Everything is kind of just getting thrown at me now, but my intentions will be to play for Australia,” Green said. “It’s always been a dream of mine as a kid. And also just as far from a development standpoint, just being able to get in games and just feel more comfortable on the court and be around guys like Ben, Joe Ingles, Patty Mills and guys like that who have really helped me out and to just grow as a player. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Also on Green’s offseason docket is a trip to Las Vegas to participate in the Vegas Summer League from Aug. 8-17. He will be playing with three other Mavs rookies – Tyler Bey, Nate Hinton and Tyrell Terry.
“I’m ready for next season for sure,” Green said. “The biggest thing is just getting game reps and feeling confident in games. And that just comes with time.”
Green only played in one of the Mavs’ postseason games – a scoreless four-minute Game 4 stint during the 106-81 loss to the Clippers. The rest of the time he was a valued spectator on the sidelines taking important mental notes.
“Sometimes just being able to sit back and watch is more beneficial than playing,” Green said during the exit interview with the media. “I’ve got a whole experience the last three weeks of watching five of the best players in the NBA.
“I think it’s just one of those things where, obviously you want to be on the court playing. But at the same time, just try to take away as much as you can from being around great veterans on your team and just in general just watching games and just taking in as much as you can.”