Green Offers a Better Millsap to Nuggets


In an NBA calendar year, few times get more wild than the off-season’s free-agency period.

Over the past five years, nearly every veteran superstar has switched teams in late July– where most of the following year’s roster construction is generated.

It’s a chance for superstars to find a better location, often to chase a title. Free agency is also a grand opportunity for smaller — aka less-attractive free-agent destinations — to find players who would fit nicely in a team’s specific system to help compete for a title. A chunk of these players disappear from the market within the first hour.

A Sneaky Win Amid the Chaos

With all the attention directed toward Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry switching teams within the first hour, ignoring the more minor contracts handed out to other qualified players was easy. Though this off-season’s free-agent class hasn’t been as robust as seasons past, both small and large markets have pulled off several bargains– which have only received little praise. Brooklyn signed Patty Mills for $6 million a year (brilliant!). Golden State snagged Nemanja Bjelica and Otto Porter Jr. on minimum deals (savvy!).

But journeyman forward Jeff Green could be the steal of the summer, agreeing to terms with the Denver Nuggets on a two-year, $9 million deal. 

Green provides what is valued most in today’s game: consistent three-point shooting, gritty defense and durability. Each season, teams scavenge to collect proficient “3&D” players to surround their stars. Green tends to be one of the most reliable, playing the 3&D role with a relatively cheap price tag each year.

Denver will be Green’s eleventh team in thirteen years, and there’s no clear sign of when he’ll slow down. Last season with the Brooklyn Nets, Green shot a career-high from three-point range (in his 13th season!), shooting 41% from behind the arc on nearly four attempts per game– a higher percentage than Zach LaVine, Norman Powell, Bojan Bogdanovic, Duncan Robinson and Danny Green.

Granted, these players took nearly two more shots from deep than Green, but a career-best in your 13th season should still be applauded.

Unlike offensive statistics and metrics, defense can be fairly dubious on stat sheets. When it comes down to defending star forwards and wings, however, Green is one of the best in the business.

Take a look at Green staying in front of then-MVP LeBron James in 2013. Notice his posture, alertness and intelligence. Green is ready for movement and prevents LeBron from getting into the paint easily. He doesn’t bite on pump fakes and keeps his hands ready.

Green is also talented at guarding smaller wings like 2019-2020 All-Rookie first-teamer Eric Pascall. Here Pascall drives to the rim where Green matches his movement, using his stronger body to control Pascall under the basket, which forces the rookie into a reverse lay-up, which Green ends up blocking.

Along with his solid shooting and driving skills, Green also maintains his effort on the opposite end of the court. He uses his size and athleticism to every advantage, making him lethal both on offense and defense. Not only is he a gifted player, but a smart one as well.

No wonder he’s played nearly 1,000 NBA games.

Green Offers a Better Millsap to Nuggets

With Paul Millsap now in Brooklyn, Green looks to absorb his reserve minutes. A four-time all-star with the Atlanta Hawks, Millsap signed with the Nuggets in 2017 on a hefty three-year, $90 million contract and again in 2020 on a one-year, $10 million extension. Though Millsap was a core piece in turning the Nikola Jokic-led Nuggets into a consistent playoff team, it was evident in his last two seasons he was slowing down. Just last season, Millsap recorded 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game– awfully similar to his first two career seasons.

A key reason why Millsap remained on Denver’s roster was his veteran presence. With fifteen years of NBA experience, Millsap was the perfect veteran to pair alongside a young Nuggets squad. Green can fill the same role Millsap carried for four seasons in Denver.

Replacing an experienced veteran with another one might seem redundant, but the difference between the two is obvious. Green can significantly contribute to a competitive playoff team, while Millsap looks to have regressed. In addition, Green has been a part of seven different teams who have made the playoffs, playing over 20 minutes per game in each series.

Jeff Green seems to be the perfect fit for the Nuggets, surrounding The Joker with a solid three-point shooter and sturdy defender. As one of the most consistent 3&D players of the past decade, Green should log nearly 20 minutes a game, as he has — and will continue to — fit next to nearly any player in an abundance of systems.

Follow us on Twitter @NuggetsLead for the latest Nuggets news and insight. 

[pickup_prop id=”11454″]

About Rex Foster

    Recommended for you

    Powered by