BY THE NUMBERS:
41 games played (4 started), 22 minutes per game, 9.8 points per game, 48.4% field goal percentage, 39.6% three-point percentage, 105 offensive rating, 106 defensive rating, 14.9 PER, .094 win shares per 48 minutes.
SEASON IN REVIEW:
If I was tasked with constructing an all-underappreciated team for the Grizzlies over their time in Memphis, JaMychal Green would possibly be a starter for me. All Green did during his time with the Grizzlies - 271 games over the span of five seasons - was contribute energy and effort at a high level on an almost nightly basis, competing as if his NBA life was depending on it.
Probably because once upon a time it was...and he hasn’t forgotten.
Now, JaM is quite clearly an NBA player...and not just an end of the bench kind of guy.
He was a meaningful contributor in Memphis during the end of the Grit and Grind Era, and right up to the conclusion of his time with the Grizzlies even in lost seasons he was an important part of the rotation. Green (mistakenly) was a starter for the Grizzlies to begin the 2018-2019 campaign, but after an injury sidelined him early in the year (again) Jaren Jackson Jr. took his (rightful) place in the starting lineup and never relinquished that spot. aside from his own injury issues. JaM was essentially the same guy as a reserve that he was as a starter, playing with a high motor, attacking the rim offensively and connecting on threes at a great clip while also defending multiple front court positions and cleaning the glass as a great rebounder for Memphis - a contribution that was sorely needed.
He never complained - at least publicly - about the change in role. He was a steadying presence in the lineup and locker room, and in the chaos that has been the Grizzlies the last two season that was deeply appreciated. You could count on JaMychal - that was worth the money that he was paid. When he and Garrett Temple were traded to the Clippers for Avery Bradley (to make the Marc Gasol trade possible) it was greeted with muted response at best and anger at worst, largely because of the lack of long-term assets acquired.
That had more to do with Green, and his success in Memphis, than anything.
What is next?
JaMychal’s contract in theory should have been more valuable at the trade deadline than it apparently was. Memphis parted ways with two expiring contracts - Temple and Green - but more importantly two solid rotation players, and JaMychal was the better of the two. When he arrived in L.A. he maintained his production that he had in Memphis, and in two notable ways - three pointers and rebounding - he surpassed it. He attempted more threes, made more of them (41.3% in the regular season with the Clippers), and grabbed almost two more rebounds per 36 minutes (10.1 in Memphis to 12 in L.A.), making him even more important to the Clippers than they probably anticipated.
That has continued in the playoffs, where Green has shot remarkably well against the Warriors and even started a playoff game for L.A. No one expects the Clippers to pull off an upset over Golden State, but if credit is to be given for Doc Rivers and his team competing well against the assumed NBA Finals favorites JaMychal Green is a big reason why they’re playing at a high level.
What does that mean moving forward? Green will be a free agent, probably hoping for at least the same amount of money that he got from Memphis in his last deal. But the Grizzlies were the team that knew him best, and they didn’t sign him long-term and traded him away. For a big that turns 29 in June? That doesn’t bode well for his free agent market.
Still, JaM is clearly a starting caliber player on a bad team, and a key rotation piece on a good one. Look for Green to value playoff/title contention and years on a contract over the money this time around, and search for perhaps a 3 year $15 million type of deal within the mid-level exception of a team like Boston, Philadelphia, or perhaps even the Clippers themselves. There is value in a player like Green. You can count on JaMychal being a tough, consistent worker in the front court.
That level of dependability matters, even in an ever-evolving NBA.
All stats provided by basketball-reference.com