In looking for an opportunity to blend where the stats and the film coalesce, I've developed a few important factors for 3-and-D prospects that can statistically illustrate their value in that role.
The stats are, when framed correctly, to be built around what a player's college role was and how that might prepare them to fill it in the NBA. The model doesn't give much caution to players who shoulder a much greater load in the collegiate ranks necessarily, and then have to transform themselves into a role player at the next level.
What measures are we using?
To call out the best 3-and-D indicators, we use
Only four prospects rated out as positives in those three categories in 2020: Devin Vassell, Saddiq Bey, Desmond Bane and Josh Green. Bane's inclusion might even be a bit dicey, as he was the primary initiator in his offense, skewing his usage and assist rates beyond the typical role of a 3-and-D wing.
Before we get to Green, let's dive into the numbers and why we like those three categories as the most indicative.
The first (C&S percentage) is pretty self-serving. How does the player perform in the role he'll be asked to?
The next two are more about squeezing out offensive traits important in role players. They need to be turnover-averse, meaning they create more scoring opportunities than end possessions. A positive assist to turnover tends to illustrate this, and prong number two is a fancy way of saying A:TO. Prong number three shows usage rate in comparison. Usually, players who know they'll fire it once they catch simultaneously jet up their usage rate while lowering their turnover rate (there's no chance for a turnover when you shoot it).
That third prong is needed next to A:TO because it illustrates the type of role the player has in college. If they're more of a creator, the USG:TO metrics will be lower. If they're more of a play finisher, that number can be high.
Green is a modest prospect in most of these measures. His 40.6% catch-and-shoot number barely clears the bar, and his overall turnover rate is fairly high in comparison to others. But Green is the right combination of clearing the bar on the statistical side and showing glimpses of exactly what coaches want on the eye test side. I value the harmony in those two more than an overt blowout in one category when the other doesn't match up.
Let's focus on the defense and use our eye test to try and peg Green for a moment.
The guy is as talented of a lateral athlete as we'll find in this draft. He's a fluid but not ferocious athlete, uses his wingspan well and is great instinctually while guarding the ball. More than anything, he's just reliable at forcing jump shots and cutting off drivers from getting to the rim. In any analytical model, his defensive shot dispersion holds up.
Green fits into a fast-paced offense because he loves to run the floor. He'll play the top defensive assignment, then bust out and punish him through a cross-match by forcing that star to either run with him or give up two in transition.
As for Green's catch-and-shoot upside, his numbers are solid and his form is compact. Green doesn't need to be a movement shooter to be a great threat. Right now, he's not a guy to run off screens or who gets his feet set quickly. His floor spacing prowess comes from standing, on the wings or in the corners, particularly on the left wing.
Of those four aforementioned 3-and-D positive in this draft, Green was the only one who took less than 25 percent of his shots as catch-and-shoot jumpers. There's room for him to continue to improve as his role becomes clarified and simplified at the next level. If his C&S jumper rate can increase while his percentage remains, his overall 3-point numbers will rise from 36 percent at Arizona.
Now for the areas to clean up...
Green is a poor shooter on the move, as the statistics above show. Not very reliable coming off screens, and that is mainly due to how stiff and square his body needs to be in order to launch. His hips have zero lateral mobility when squaring to shoot. The right way for Green to play into his strengths is to be in a spread PNR scheme next to a dynamic point guard. He can slide laterally to get himself open, but anything through the lane or off the bounce spells trouble.
Beyond that, Green's finishing was pretty putrid. He scored only 37.5 percent of the time he was at the rim in the half-court, far below NBA levels. That's exacerbated when you see his wingspan measurements; there's no reason to have someone his size finishing that infrequently.
As a help defender, Green is high-risk, high-reward. He gambles a lot, and when he gets steals, he comes off as an instinctual threat to carve up and disrupt. When he's out of position or he misses on those gambles, he costs his team. Part of playing a 3-and-D role in the NBA is about reliability; you don't want to be noticed often, and with the task you're fulfilling, gambling is more likely to punish you. I'd like to see Green become a little more dialed back on his aggression before throwing him in to guard the opponent's top threat.
Overall Analysis and Draft Projection
With the tools Green has at his young age, I'd be surprised if he falls out of the first round. He's got that prototypical 3-and-D moniker, moves his feet on-ball in a tremendous way and can continue to improve as a finisher. His shooting rates are bound to skyrocket as he settles into a higher volume of catch-and-shoot jumpers in the NBA, as his statistical profile indicates.
I'd consider Green as being someone in that 16-24 range, though fit is going to be heavily important to how he blends in at the next level.