Josh Green has been one of the standouts in the Mavericks’ first week of training camp.
It’s not by accident.
The third-year swingman has set himself for this to be a major leap year for him.
Gone is the specter of COVID-19, which hung over his first two seasons and kept him from a lot of team-building and individual-improvement opportunities.
Gone is the hesitance and the lack of confidence.
And, mostly, gone is last season’s forgettable playoff run.
Green said on Friday that he forced himself to watch the horror-show tapes of his postseason, when his production (and subsequently, his playing time) shriveled up.
“As much as I didn’t want to watch it, I watched it many times,” Green said after a lively practice session. “It’s hard to watch, but at the same time, it’s a learning curve. I think you have to watch everything, the good and the bad. And obviously, that was bad. So . . .”
So he went to work this summer. He spent virtually all summer in Las Vegas working with his personal trainers and Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry, among others who base themselves in Las Vegas during the summer.
The hope, coach Jason Kidd said, is that Green and/or Frank Ntilikina can become the secondary ball-handlers behind Luka Dončić and Spencer Dinwiddie.
“Josh’s work is paying off,” Kidd said. “I think if you ask him, his summer was big, he worked with the coaches and spent some time on his game. And you can see the payoff. But I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg for him. He’s just starting. He’s playing at a high level and that’s good because we need him.”
And it started with owning up to the playoff failures. Green averaged just 7.6 minutes in the postseason, less than half of his regular-season playing time. And he shot under 29 percent. He basically was a non-factor after a 12-point, six-rebound showing in Game 3 of the first round against Utah.
“It’s also him being honest with you guys (media members), saying that it was tough to watch,” Kidd said. “But the big thing is you learn.
“He’s answered that question: what did he learn from the playoffs? And that’s that they’re going to put the center or the non-defender on him. He’s worked on his game – shooting the 3 extremely well, handling the ball, being able to make plays.”
Kidd added that he was once in that position.
“I was old so they did put the five (center) on me because I couldn’t move,” he said. “Just being able to share that with him – that’s going to change, because he’s going to make them pay for it.”
Green said he knows this is a big season for him. The Mavericks have a need for more playmaking after the exit of Jalen Brunson to New York in free agency.
So his biggest point of emphasis is pretty clear.
“The more I improve my game, the more it’s going to help out the team,” he said. “And that’s my goal, to help the team out as much as I can, whatever it is. I just want to make sure I can go out there and be a force.
“Ballhandling was my biggest thing, being comfortable having the ball in my hands and creating my own shot. I haven’t been confident, I think, in games. I just need to be consistent with my shot.”
And, the workouts this summer with Lowry were a help in learning how to manage his talent.
“Sometimes, it’s just like: slow down,” Green said. “Kyle’s very good at pace. So coming off screens and being able to slow down and see the floor, and just play the game. Playing with him one-on-one and a bunch of other guys helped me slow my game down.
“Somebody who’s been in the league for, what, 17 years? He’s got so much knowledge. I was 3 years old (when he started), so I learned a lot.”
Fan Jam on Saturday: The annual Fan Jam is at noon on Saturday, with doors opening at 11 a.m. at American Airlines Center.
Kidd said Friday that all 20 players will be available to participate in the scrimmage that will be played in front of the fans, including Luka Dončić.
“We’re ready,” Kidd said. “We’ll practice. And then we’ll go have a scrimmage in front of the fans. Just another day at work.”
As for how the first week of camp has gone, he said: “It’s been great. The energy has been off the charts. Guys are competing, helping one another. It’s been really, really good.”
The Mavericks have their first preseason game Wednesday against Oklahoma City in Tulsa.
Summer of St. Jean: Not to say that assistant coach Greg St. Jean was a world traveler this summer, but he did enough globe-trotting to have a T-Shirt printed up about his adventures.
The “Summer of St. Jean” T-shirts made their debut Friday at practice.
St. Jean spent time in Germany and numerous other places, as well as taking part in the movie “Hustle” and trying to mix in a little personal time.
“We thought we’d have some fun with that,” Kidd said, who said he was not responsible for the T-shirts. “I’m blaming (assistant Sean) Sweeney. I’m not taking credit for this. Sweeney did that.”
St. Jean, by the way said: “No way. I can guarantee you I didn’t have anything to do with the shirts.”
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