When the Denver Nuggets lost out on Jerami Grant this offseason, they quickly pivoted and signed veteran JaMychal Green. It was a move that Denver needed after just losing one of their biggest contributors in Grant to the Detroit Pistons. The signing of Green went a little under the radar because everyone was so upset about losing Grant to Detroit, but it’s a move that actually might work out better for Denver in the end.
After he struggled in two preseason games to start his tenure with the Nuggets, a lot of people seemed ready to write off Green and his role with the Nuggets. Green then suffered a calf strain and missed the first four games before making his debut against the Phoenix Suns last week. Green scored eight points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting from the field in that Suns game before following it up with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, 3-of-8 from three in the Nuggets 15-point victory against Minnesota last Sunday.
Green has really made his impact felt off the bench as the Nuggets backup center to go along with the guard heavy lineups featuring Monte Morris-PJ Dozier-Facundo Campazzo and even Jamal Murray at times. Green has thrived in that role and has developed a nice relationship with Campazzo as the two have connected on a number of pick-n-pop plays that have resulted in wide open threes for Green.
Fast forward to Monday night and Green made his impact felt yet again. In just 10 first half minutes, Green led the Nuggets in scoring at halftime with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. Paul Millsap then picked up a quick fourth foul to begin the second half, so Michael Malone called on Green not even a minute into the third quarter to help try and slow down a Timberwolves offense that was firing on all cylinders.
Green did just that as he scored five points in the quarter and hauled in four rebounds. Not only did Green make another three-pointer, but he limited the number of Timberwolves second chance points thanks to his efforts on the defensive glass.
All in all, Green finished the game with 17 points in his 20 minutes off the bench. Green shot an efficient 5-of-8 from the field and was a perfect 3-of-3 from distance to go along with six rebounds and one assist. It was his third consecutive solid performance as Green finally seems to be settling into his role with the Nuggets.
With the amount of money it would've took to resign Grant this offseason, the signing of Green might be a blessing in disguise for the Nuggets. Not only is Green making a lot less money — about $12 million roughly — but his role with Denver might actually be better than what Grant would have provided. Grant being in Detroit has also allowed Michael Porter Jr. to slot into the starting lineup — when he’s with the team — while Green has provided the Nuggets a capable big they can play off the bench with pretty much any lineup.
Green is averaging 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists on 61.9% from the field and an absurd 61.5% from three-point range. He is playing his role about as well as can be asked of him with just three games under his belt this season.
It’s just a three game sample size, but if Green can keep this up the Nuggets might have found a hidden gem.