LAS VEGAS – The sleep schedule has been a little off for Josh Green since arriving in the desert after a few weeks in Japan for the Olympics.
Then again, Vegas never sleeps. So it’s all good, except for one thing:
Green is only 20.
That’s bad news if you’re trying to enjoy all that Las Vegas offers, but excellent news if you’ve already played in the NBA, won an Olympic medal and shown the potential to be a bigger contributor for the Mavericks in the coming seasons.
Maybe sooner than later.
While Green has been getting used to the jet-setting lifestyle, he took time Thursday to chat about the Olympic experience and how he hopes to build off of that in his second season with the Mavericks.
But it’s been a struggle getting back on American time less than a week after taking the medal podium in Tokyo with the Australian team that won bronze. That’s part of the reason why the 6-6 Green isn’t playing for the Mavericks during summer league, which resumes for them Saturday at 2 p.m. Dallas time against Denver.
“A good explanation would probably be the time change,” Green said about things that factored into the decision not to play in the MGM Resorts Summer League. “It’s pretty hard to get adjusted when you’re coming back. Lately, I’ve been going to bed about 8 a.m. and waking up at 4. Today (Thursday) was the first time I was able to get to bed around 11-ish. But I woke up at 3 in the morning.”
Not that he’s complaining. Playing for Australia was a dream come true for Green.
“The Olympics is one of those things where you can’t turn it down,” Green said. “For me, it’s way bigger than just basketball. Growing up when I was 8 years old, 10 years old, whenever the Australian team would play any sport, I’d wake up at 4 in the morning and watch them. I even watched Joe Ingles when I was 10 years old when he first played for Australia. So it goes way more than basketball.”
And being a medal winner?
“It’s something that still doesn’t feel real to me,” he said. “I was talking to my mom last night and the whole emotions of my family when I told them I was representing Australia, you can’t put it into words. Being around athletes who you watched as a kid and aspired to be, it’s awesome. And you can’t take it for granted.
“I think just being around the whole environment of the Australian team in general is awesome. It helped my basketball and helped me off the court. The Olympics, it’s just cool to be around all the best athletes in the world and being able to experience that at the age of 20.”
Along with the obvious hardware he and the Aussie team won, Green came home with another souvenir from Tokyo.
On the video conference call he was on with media members, he showed off the golden-colored pair of Crocs that he’s been wearing whenever possible.
On the top of the shoe is written: GVO
“Gold Vibes Only,” Green said. “Everybody’s mindset was to go for gold. That’s why I wear the Crocs. And it’s something I’m going to continue. Me being a competitor, everything I do on the court is to be able to win the game.”
And there is no doubt in Green’s mind that the Olympic experience is going to pay major dividends for him down the line.
The Mavericks used Green sparingly in his rookie season. But he had a few moments, especially one that caught Mark Cuban’s eye.
The owner brought up a vivid memory of how Green’s skills can help the Mavericks. During their visit to Miami on May 4, two steals by Green helped create the energy that would help the Mavericks erase a 44-35 deficit and take a 63-54 lead at halftime.
“It’s obviously up to J-Kidd,” Cuban said of how the Mavericks will utilize Green this season. But the thing about Josh is that he has an incredible nose for the ball. If there was a 50/50 ball rating, he would be at the top of the NBA.
“He singlehandedly created the momentum for us to win our game in Miami last year. If he can keep improving his offense, the sky is the limit for him.”
In that game, by the way, Green had four points, four rebounds, three steals and three assists in 24 minutes. The Mavericks were plus-17 while he was on the floor.
It was one of the highlights of his rookie season, when he averaged 2.6 points and 2 rebounds in 39 games (five starts). He’s obviously looking for bigger things this season.
“Being around some of the best shooters in the world – Joe and Patty (Mills) and Chris Golden – I went against (them) every single day,” Green said of the Olympic run. “I learned so much. It’s helped me slow down and see the court. I feel like it’s going to help me out a lot. The group we had was some of the most competitive guys I’ve been around.
“And away from basketball, it was some of the greatest human beings I’ve ever been around.”
Green was going for the same thing Luka Dončić was seeking in Tokyo – a medal.
It was Green’s Australian team that took the bronze medal game over Slovenia and Dončić. And while the bronze medal was a major accomplishment for the Australians, Green believes they are not done.
“That (a gold medal) is the goal we’re going to come with every time we step on the court,” he said. “Us being able to get this medal this year obviously is the greatest accomplishment in Australian basketball history.
“But at the same time, for the younger guys on the team, it’s a step where we need to still be motivated. I’m 20 years old and I have a medal at the Olympics. That still hasn’t registered.
“Hopefully, we can be competing maybe against Luka someday in the final.
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