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2021-22 Denver Nuggets Media Day Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Is Jeff Green the piece the Nuggets bench was missing?

Jeff Green 2020-21 per game statistics

2020-21 Games Minutes Points Rebounds Assists Field Goal % Three-Point % Box Plus-Minus
Regular Season 68 27.0 11.0 3.9 1.6 49.2 41.2 -1.0
Playoffs 6 24.7 8.2 2.8 1.7 48.5 55.6 +2.6

Overview

Jeff Green has been an NBA player for just about as long as I can remember, he came into the league during the 2007 NBA Draft. Green has bounced around to 11 different teams in his tenured career including the Seattle SuperSonics (Rest In Peace). He has always brought relatively the same skillset to the NBA but has slowly transitioned from a wing player to more of a big man. This will be Green’s first year as a Nugget, and I think he will fit in Denver perfectly.

Green signed a two-year, $9 million contract this off-season, the second year being a player option. That contract is team friendly and seems to me like the perfect contract for Green. He will be playing along side JaMychal Green in the bench rotation which allows for JaMychal to guard the more physical big man defensively while Jeff guards the more mobile big man. Jeff Green is also capable of playing small ball 5; he is athletic, shoots well, and can finish at the rim off the dribble if defenders get too close. Green’s play style was exactly what the Nuggets bench needed last year. This situation is ideal for him because he isn’t going to be asked to do too much, and his strengths line up well with the Nuggets weaknesses.

Best Case Scenario

Last year the Brooklyn Nets scored and rebounded better when Jeff Green was alongside another true center, but they also struggled defensively. JaMychal Green should be a great player for Jeff Green to play next to, since having both Greens out there together should make it more difficult for opposing teams to attack the paint, it will also limit the effectiveness of a post-up except against the best post options in the league. Having two players that could both play backup center is great for the Nuggets. Both Greens are big enough players to rotate and defend the paint well, covering for each other in the process. Overall, Jeff Green should make the Nuggets bench much better defensively.

Jeff Green’s offensive game really has few to no holes in it either, as he is at least average to pretty good at everything. Green shot 41% from three-point range last season and 56% from two-point range. His skill set has been really needed in the Nuggets second unit: a good paint defender who can stretch the floor and create for himself a little bit.

Green can also occasionally dunk on someone, even though that has been really the only part of his game to fall off due to age. Even though Jeff Green is 35 years old, he can still get up, as seen below with Green dunking all over Harry Giles during the preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Worst Case Scenario

Jeff Green has a high floor for productivity as a 15-year vet, but he also doesn’t have a high ceiling as a member of the Nuggets for that same reason. You know what you are getting from Jeff Green. He will rarely offer the spectacular performances but will give solid to pretty good performances every night.

With that in mind, Jeff’s worst case scenario in Denver is this being the year age finally catches up to him. Green was playing last year at relatively the same level he has been for his entire career, so there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue at the same level. It is pretty normal for players to start regressing at the age of 35 though, so I would not be totally shocked if Jeff Green does not look like the same player from last season. He still relies on his athleticism to get to the basket on some of his attempts, so if he loses some of that athleticism he could become more reliant on three-point shooting.

If Green can't be as physical as he has been in years past that could be an issue as well. Even if Green didn’t come to Denver as the same player he has been his whole career, he will still be getting minutes and probably will still be the backup 4 or 5. Ultimately, if Jeff Green plays at the same level he always has been the Nuggets will be good. If Green plays at 75% of the level he has in years past, then the Nuggets will probably just be okay with him on the floor.


Prediction

I believe that Jeff Green is an amazing pickup for the Denver Nuggets and will prove everyone who didn't think so wrong. He will also continue to posterize people and I’m expecting at least five posters from Jeff Green this season. He will be part of an important bench unit to keep the Nuggets afloat when their stars sit, and I think he will do just that.

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