Since arriving in Memphis via a midseason trade with the Boston Celtics, almost every part of Jeff Green's game has been scrutinized. However, one part of his game that hasn't been analyzed at length is his strange pump fake.
When performing his patented pump fake, Green stands on his toes while typically extending the ball with one hand high above his head to the right of his body. He always dribbles at least once after pump faking, too.
It's not a particularly quick or deceptive move, but defenders seem to fall for it frequently. Tricking defenders into leaving their feet is certainly an ingredient of a good pump fake, but the quality of a pump fake can't be solely measured by that standard.
The end result of the play on which the pump fake was utilized matters as well. Did the fake lead to a bucket or at least create a higher-quality shot? Like most pieces of Green's game, the results of his pump fake are a mixed bag.
Since arriving in Memphis, Green has taken 39 shots after utilizing his pump fake. That equates to Green pump faking on about 15% of the total number of shots he has taken since joining the Grizzlies (including playoffs), not an insignificant percentage.
Of the 39 shots Green has taken where his pump fake was deployed beforehand, he has made 17 and missed 22, which means he's shooting 43.6% on such attempts. That's not terrible, but it's also not particularly good either.
Green's lack of aggression with the ball in his hands can often leave one mystified and angry. Rather than putting his head down and using his strong frame to force his way to the rim, he settles for jumpers more than he should. This is the inherent problem with Green's pump fake and the main reason why he doesn't shoot a higher percentage on attempts preceded by the move.
At his best on pump fakes, Green can do this.
The reason Green's pump fake gets defenders to leave their feet so often is because his fake looks incredibly similar to the gather and beginning of the jump on his actual shot. Once Green's man leaps past him, he should always look to go to the hole first, given his strength and athleticism, like he does in the video above. It's his best option of attack, and it's certainly a much better choice than settling for a midrange jumper as his shot chart indicates.
At his worst on pump fakes, Green does whatever this is.
Green's problem on pump fakes is that he doesn't regularly utilize the move to create the best shot possible. He is able to create a more open look from midrange or beyond the arc than he would have gotten if he had not performed a pump fake, but it's still not the shot you want from him. Countless times after utilizing the move, Green has a perfect opportunity to drive all the way to the rim. The path is seemingly clear, yet he pulls up to shoot far short of the paint.
If Green would put the ball on the floor and attack the rim more after faking his man out, his pump fake would undoubtedly be a much more dangerous weapon. As things stand now, he's not getting the most out of the move, and he won't until he learns to be more aggressive. Perhaps it's too late for a team to attempt to rewire him that way, but I know the Grizzlies would be thankful if they could change him and make him realize just how much more of an attacking force he could be.