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Memphis Grizzlies 2016-2017 Player Grades: JaMychal Green

JaM continued to impress this season as the starter that never should have been.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

JaMychal Green 2016-2017 Season

JaMychal Green 2016-2017
JaMychal Green 2016-2017
Points Per Game 8.9
Rebounds Per Game 7.1
3-point shooting percentage 37.90%
Offensive Rating 117
Defensive Rating 110
Net Rating 10
Player Efficiency Rating 13.5
Usage Rate 14.40%
Assist Percentage 14.80%
Win Shares Per 48 Minutes 0.131

JaMychal Green continued to amaze in 2016-2017.

The former star high school player turned Alabama college baller turned D-Leaguer has risen up the NBA ranks to where he currently resides with the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA. First, the question was whether or not he belonged in the NBA. Then, it became whether or not he belonged in an NBA rotation. Then, it became about whether or not he could be an NBA starter. Now? It is about just how much money it will cost to have his services in the future.

He wasn’t supposed to be here, but now that he is, he appears as if he is here to stay.

The versatility is what draws you to his game. He can do so many things at a decent clip- defend the pick and roll, convert the three-point shot, switch and stick for stretches on the perimeter- that are so valuable in the modern NBA. He can’t create for himself, and he still defends more with his hands and arms than his feet, but those sins can be forgiven considering what he provides elsewhere.

He showed this past season in Memphis that he was up to the challenge of filling the shoes of a legend, replacing Memphis stalwart Zach Randolph in the starting lineup and rarely looking out of place. Green was not asked to be a scorer- he was asked to be a solid defender, to be a player to attack the glass and bring energy to the starting unit, while Randolph provided that punch of points off the bench. Both players succeeded in those roles this season, but Randolph has been doing that for years. It was JaMychal who truly had to rise to the opportunity in front of him.

He did that, and then some.

BEST GAME

It has to be his dominant performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves on February 4th. No Marc Gasol, no Tony Allen, no problem for Memphis on this night (at least after a terrible first quarter), and JaMychal Green was the biggest reason why. He led the team in scoring with a career-high 29 points while shooting 8-11 from the field and 12-12 from the free throw line. Most importantly, JaMychal was able to play over 30 minutes without fouling too much- only 2 penalties in this contest. JaM was one of the best players on the floor in a winning effort- not bad for a guy on a minimum contract.

WAYS TO IMPROVE

Memphis was one of the worst teams in the NBA when it came to fouling this past season, and JaMychal Green led the Grizzlies in fouls per game at 3.2. Green has decent athleticism and decent strength, but he struggles to utilize them at times, especially in post defense. Dave Joerger (jokingly, maybe?) once called him a small forward, but JaMychal does have a bit of tweener position-wise in him. He can be a step slow on the perimeter or a post move weak on the block, depending on the match-up. This leads to poor feet, which leads to reaching, which leads to fouls.

While JaMychal is currently in his prime, he can stand to learn a trick or two of the trade from Grizzlies veterans who have logged more minutes than him over the span of an NBA season. Anticipating offensive sets, better leverage in the post, and better rotations on defense overall could help Green cut in to that number.

2016-2017 OVERALL GRADE

One of the major storylines for Memphis this off-season is how much it will cost to keep Green. JaMychal is a restricted free agent, meaning Memphis will have the opportunity to match any offer that Green signs to retain his services, but that could get pricey. JaMychal has been estimated to expect anywhere between $9-$14 million per year this coming off-season. The Grizzlies will have to decide whether or not it is worth it to keep him in Beale Street Blue.

Take a moment, though, and think about how remarkable that is that we are even in this place. Green has gone from an afterthought on the San Antonio Spurs roster cuts list to a player likely about to be paid an eight-figure salary yearly - that's an amazing series of events. Regardless of where he winds up, JaMychal Green has earned every cent he will make on his next contract. He is a self-made NBA man, and Memphis can be proud that he earned his new reputation as a NBA starter as a Grizzly.

Green had himself a heck of a 2016-2017 campaign. Whether that will translate to a long-term stay in the Bluff City for JaMychal remains to be seen.

GRADE: B+

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