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Josh Green makes sense in Denver

Brendan Vogt Avatar
November 3, 2020

The Nuggets currently hold the No. 22 pick in the NBA Draft. Over the next month, the DNVR Nuggets crew will examine who Denver may pick with that selection. Make sure to mark your calendar for Wednesday, November 18, the night of the draft, and DNVR Nuggets Draft Day LIVE streaming on Periscope and YouTube.

Who is Josh Green?

With their stars in place, the Denver Nuggets have the hard part out of the way. Now, Tim Connelly and his staff must fill in the cracks around a talented core and solidify a championship roster. 3-and-D players are at a premium in today’s NBA, and the Nuggets might be inclined to add one in the draft after their catch-and-shoot woes in the Western Conference Finals. That series also featured one of the team’s current 3-and-D options, Gary Harris, struggling to match up as his size became an issue.

Josh Green might not be around at 22, but he’s mocked in the late first-round by multiple outlets and isn’t out of reach should the Nuggets have him circled on their big board. A 6’6″ guard/wing with a 6’10.25″ wingspan, Green, who played just one season at Arizona, boasts a reputation as a versatile defender with catch-and-shoot promise and a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

Green was born in Sydney, Australia, and began his high school career there before moving to Phoenix, Arizona. A 5-star recruit (class of 2019), he mulled offers from Kansas, North Carolina, Villanova, USC, and UNLV before ultimately committing to Arizona. He underwent surgery on his right shoulder in 2018 and again to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in 2019. He still played and started in 30 games for the Wildcats his freshman season.

Green settled into a limited role on offense while embracing his ability to impact a game on the other end in Arizona. He didn’t shoulder much responsibility with getting the offense going, but he filled his role nicely as a floor spacer (36% from 3 on 2.8 attempts per game) and took advantage of overzealous closeouts. He has an NBA body and showed NBA-caliber strength in those 30 games. While somewhat limited in the half-court, he did damage in transition, where he finished 4th in the Pac-12 in scoring (4.2 ppg).

An inability to create for himself or others limits Green’s potential, but his high floor and drag and drop skillset forge a reasonable path to cracking an NBA rotation, if not a starting unit one day. On the high end: Green is a plus-defender who should guard 1-3 and punish defenses for leaving him open. On the low end: he probably cuts the figure of a player we’ve seen before in Denver—a wing that’s better suited to defend guards and will be primarily ignored on offense.


  • Plus on-ball defender
  • Strong off-ball instincts
  • Defensive versatility: possesses physical tools to guard 1-3
  • Spot-up shooting


  • Not a shot creator
  • Not a playmaker
  • Handle
  • Medical history (surgery on left shoulder 2019, right shoulder 2018)

How does Green fit with the Nuggets?


What Green lacks offensively isn’t a dealbreaker with the right personnel around him. It’s unlikely he evolves into a player that puts the ball on the floor and reaches deep into his proverbial bag, but it seems likely he’ll hold his own as a floor spacer and pose a threat in the open floor. He’s a complementary piece and one that complements the Nuggets’ starters nicely.

Harris was once a secondary scoring option and emerging playmaker in Denver, but he’s been relegated and digressed to a strict 3-and-D player since. If there’s room for a player like ‘G’ in the starting lineup, there’s room for Green one day in theory. He’s not a noted off-movement marksman like TCU’s Desmond Bane, but he can spot up and stroke it if left alone.

Should he play as a rookie, it will likely happen alongside two quality playmakers in Monte Morris and Will Barton III on the second unit. Green doesn’t have to create. He has to finish, and that’s within reach.

Should the pick bust, Green might still endear himself to a head coach like Michael Malone with his engagement on defense. He might also enrage the fan base as defenses routinely ignore him and pack the paint instead on the other end. We’ve seen it before. The offensive utility at the next level hinges on consistency from deep as much as anything. That’s his realistic path to a positive impact. Everything else—improved handle, passing, pull up—would be the icing on the cake.


I can’t shake the Harris comparisons here (down to Green’s affinity for floaters). Harris is an outstanding on-ball defender, but one whose range is limited by his size. Green is taller and a lot longer, which provides the foundation for versatility that few, if any, players on the roster possess right now. Harris can guard two positions at most. Torrey Craig is an option on the wing but excels when defending smaller, shiftier guards. If the pick hits, Green should be able to guard 1-3 comfortably.

This selection wouldn’t appease those dead-set on adding some size on the interior, but the possibility should intrigue anyone who longs to see a traditional 3-and-D wing in Denver. If the shot develops, Green might be the perfect kind of prospect to load into the pipeline, especially if the team is ready to move on from the perimeter defenders who struggle to hit open shots.


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