2020 NBA Draft sleepers: Josh Green could be two-way wing Warriors covet
Editor’s note: As the Warriors prepare for the 2020 NBA draft, NBC Sports Bay Area will present a twice-weekly series spotlighting two “Sleepers” likely to be evaluated. This is the second of a 12-part series on intriguing prospects considered risky to select among the top 10.
The Warriors have selected their share of late draft projects in recent years. Draymond Green (No. 35 overall in 2012), Kevon Looney (No. 30 in 2015) and Eric Paschall (No. 41 in 2019) have become key contributors while being selected outside the lottery.
The “sleeper” distinction fits Arizona freshman swingman Josh Green. Green has the frame (6-foot-6) to be the kind of long defender that Warriors coach Steve Kerr covets. If he improves his jumper, Green could develop into the “3-and-D” wing they hoped recent picks Patrick McCaw, Jacob Evans and — most recently — Jordan Poole would.
Green grew up in a basketball family. His parents, Cahla and Delmas, played pro hoops in Australia and his brother Jay currently plays college hoops at Northern Arizona. After an impressive prep career in his homeland, Josh moved to Arizona and became a star at Mountain Ridge High School. Green later matured into a five-star prospect at IMG Academy in Florida.
His wingspan (6-foot-10), athleticism and defensive prowess are his biggest strengths. Green posted a 93.3 defensive rating, while showcasing some offensive promise as he averaged 12.0 points per game.
The 19-year-old struggled to create his own shot and needs to improve his game off the dribble, especially in the pick and roll. The Warriors won’t ask him to be a primary ballhandler in an offense with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, though, and he made 36.1 percent of his 3-pointers at Arizona.
Green could be an intriguing prospect for the Warriors if they trade back out of the lottery. He could be the young, two-way wing they’ve been searching for, and recent history suggests that Golden State can mold Green in its system. Poole and Paschall flourished down the stretch before the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and Green has the potential to do the same.
Josh Green profile
Position: Shooting guard
Birthdate: Nov. 16, 2000 (19 years old)
Hometown: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2019-20 season averages: 12.0 points (42.4 percent field goals, 36.1 percent on 3-pointers, 78.0 percent on free throws), 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals.
What they’re saying: “I think the reason that he’s such a terrific player is his versatility. He brings so many different things to a game. He can guard a variety of players. We keep track of deflections and he leads our team in deflections. He can get a big steal, shot block. In transition, if he’s not our best overall player in transition, he’s one of them. And the thing about him is he can both finish and he also he’s had some of our best passes in transition. Offensively, being able to drive the ball and get to the foul line and drive the ball and score, I think he’s one of our best if not our best in that area.” — Arizona coach Sean Miller
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