As the Denver Nuggets return to training camp, it’s important for fans to become reacquainted with their favorite team. During a shortened offseason, the Nuggets made several player transactions, more than usual, and the resulting roster looks very different than it did before. 10 players on the 2019-20 roster have returned for the 2020-21 season, and they are:
Jamal Murray - point guard
Monte Morris - point guard
PJ Dozier - combo guard
Gary Harris - shooting guard
Will Barton - wing/forward
Michael Porter Jr. - forward
Bol Bol - forward
Paul Millsap - power forward
Vlatko Čančar - power forward
Nikola Jokić - center
That leaves seven roster spots, each of which the Nuggets have filled with a player hoping to move the Nuggets closer to winning their first championship in franchise history.
Today, it’s time to introduce Nuggets fans to JaMychal Green.
JaMychal Green player profile
Position: Power forward
Previous Team: Los Angeles Clippers
Age: 30 (June 21, 1990)
Measurables: 6’8”, 227 lbs
How did Green get to the Nuggets?
Green has worked his butt off to get into the NBA, and should be proud of the path he’s been able to forge. The Alabama native went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, although he’s easily had a much better career than the fifth overall pick in that draft, Thomas Robinson. He was able to connect with the San Antonio Spurs and their D-League team, getting some action in Summer League as well, but his breakthrough came with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Green started with the Grizzlies in the 2014-15 season, and started getting major minutes the following season as a backup to Zach Randolph. That was a tough season for the Grit-N-Grind Grizzlies, with injuries forcing them to start 18 different players that season as they finished seventh overall in the Western Conference. If you could correctly answer which now-retired NBA player lead that team in minutes played, you need to get off Basketball Reference and go outside for a change. Green started 75 games for the Grizzlies the following season, as they tried to modernize their offense by moving Randolph to the bench to try to add more spacing (with Green) in the starting lineup. Green eventually would leave the Grizzlies in a trade — for Avery Bradley — and wound up in Los Angeles playing for the Clippers.
Green signed a one-year contract with the Clippers, joining a team that was able to make the playoffs with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Clippers won their first series in the playoffs, knocking off the Dallas Mavericks in six games, before facing the Nuggets in the second round. The Clippers won three of the first four games, and then, tragically, lost three straight to blow a 3-1 series lead. The Clippers didn’t lose the series because of what Green did out there in the series, but asking him to check Nikola Jokic is a tough task for a player of his size, and it didn’t go well. Now he’s a Nugget, so there’s one matchup Nuggets fans don’t have to worry about.
What to expect from Green
Green was a 3&D forward for the Clippers last season. He came off the bench exclusively for them, and his role on offense was to rebound missed shots or shoot 3-pointers. Every one of his 3-point attempts last season came off a pass, and 67 percent of his total field goals were from behind the arc. Green shot 38% on 238 attempts, which is a pretty decent mark for a player that was only averaging 20 minutes a night.
He’s a tough defender, who was raised the right way on a Grizzlies team that made their money on defense. He broke his jaw one time trying to contest a dunk — he’s not going to shy away from a physical matchup. He’s a pure four though — he’s not going to be defending small forwards in the playoffs, at least not very well. That’s just not his game — it’s best to ask players to play to their strengths, not be pigeon-holed into trying to fill a void they didn’t create. He’ll give good effort on the glass, both offense and defense, and he’ll get an occasional blocked shot and steal. He hasn’t piled up defensive stats, but he knows where to go and what to do in a scheme.
I would be surprised if Green started the season at power forward. With the shortened offseason, he’s going to need time to adjust to playing with the Nuggets, not against them. An unfamiliar scheme on defense, and having to play with a wizard on offense in Jokic, means that he’s going to need some time before he can fill major minutes as a starter. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win the starting role during the season and hold onto it into the playoffs. He’s a good player, and the Nuggets need someone to fill that spot in the rotation who will give more help than harm.
I think Nuggets fans will like him — he’s affable, with that good Southern charm, he plays hard, and he’s a solid contributor. He’s a good free agent signing for the team in what was a crazy offseason.