|Minutes Per Game||15.8|
|Shooting Splits||37 FG% |
|Points Per Game||5.0|
|Rebounds Per Game||1.4|
|Assists Per Game||0.9|
|Steals Per Game||0.4|
There is a reason why many around the league refer to Willie Green as a pro’s pro. Green is seldom used for a reason. Outside of shooting the three-ball, Green’s weaknesses far outweigh his strength’s.
With injuries to J.J. Redick early in the season, Willie Green was inserted into the starting lineup a la 2012-13 when the Clippers were patiently waiting for Chauncey Billups to return. Some have questioned over the last two years why Green has been the guy inserted into the starting lineup upon injury to the wing section instead of a Jamal Crawford or Eric Bledsoe, but it’s because both coaches in Vinny Del Negro and Doc Rivers have attempted to recreate the spacing that Redick or Billups created and to maintain balance in the reserve unit. Without spacing, the floor is shortened, giving Blake Griffin and Chris Paul less space to work with. The perception is that a better player should be moved into the starting lineup, but coaches have a habit of working in theory and Green’s insertion falls along those lines.
But unlike last year, Green failed to provide a spark in regards to shooting the ball. There’s no real reason to parse through his other statistical categories as his impact there was minimal, so shooting is all we judge. Here are his starter splits from this season compared to last years:
2012-13 Starter Splits: 60 games as starter, .464 field-goal percentage, .413 three-point percentage
2013-14 Starter Splits: 9 games as starter .321 field-goal percentage, .275 three-point percentage
That’s a jarring difference despite the difference in sample size. That same difference shows how good Green was at his role in the previous year. What changed? Not sure, because it’s hard to pinpoint ones decline to one prominent factor. The number one factor would probably be age. Many may not know this, but Green is the ripe age of 32. The fight with father time seems to have been a one-way bout with father time winning by knockout. A 14 percent drop in field-goal percentage? A 14 percent drop in three-point percentage?
Following his nine-game stint in the starting lineup, Green became a permanent reserve s Doc Rivers opted for Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford as the starting shooting guard when J.J. Redick missed a fraction of the latter end of the season due to a bulging disc in his back.
Green would display sporadic bursts throughout the season to show what little worth he had for this Clippers team. That means a 13 point game against the Milwaukee Bucks here, a 12 point game against the Toronto Raptors there and averaging 11.7 points over a three-game stretch against the Jazz-Warriors-Cavaliers. But as the season waned on, the need for Green lessened more and more. No longer were Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick injured. And that mean the end of Green as a rotation player, playing only 18 minutes in the 2014 NBA playoffs.
In the end, Willie Green represented a collection of players the Clippers didn’t need nor could they utilize to overcome stiff competition in the Western Conference semi-finals. He was a guy that was one-dimensional, contributing to only one facet of the game, a facet the Clippers had little troubles in, while doing little to fill in the glaring holes in the Clippers armor, those chinks being rebounding, perimeter defense, and rim protection.
With the Clippers organization seemingly pinching pennies, hoping not to cross too far pass the luxury tax line, it’s hard to imagine Willie Green being in a Clippers jersey come November of 2014 unless he chooses to return on for the minimum. If not, his $1.4 million in cap space will be used to add to the teams glaring weaknesses.