LA Clippers: Role Players Searching For Role

LA Clippers (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LA Clippers (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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LA Clippers JaMychal Green
LA Clippers JaMychal Green (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

JaMychal Green

Acquired in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2018-2019 season, JaMychal Green quickly found a role with the Clippers as the scrappy two-way forward that fit the team’s identity to a tee. His ability to shoot, rebound, and do the dirty work made him a huge factor in the underdog Clippers putting up a good fight against the impossible Golden State Warriors during the first round of last year’s playoffs.

Green, following suit with the rest of the Clippers’ rotation pieces, has dealt with some health issues this year. Earlier in the season he took a nasty fall and bruised his tailbone forcing him to miss some time. His time on the court has been a little confusing though.

If you look into Jamychal’s numbers for the current season you won’t see much difference from his career averages. Green is a case in which the stat sheet has to go out the window and the eye test has to be brought out. He’s gone through stretches that feel like forever where he cannot hit a shot from three despite being a career 36% shooter, making 35% this year, and 41% last year.

A large part of his shooting last year might have to do with the fact that he didn’t have to share the majority of his bench minutes with another perimeter shooter in Landry Shamet, who spent a lot of his minutes with the starters. We’ll get to that later…

On the topic of starting lineups, JaMychal is only one of two rotation players that have not had at least one start this season. The other player not to make a starting appearance? Jerome Robinson. Green is averaging double the minutes that Robinson is, and Robinson has been dealing with struggles of his own on the floor.

The most shocking part of Green not getting any time this season as a starter is that he proved to be so resourceful on the floor last year that he played himself into the starting lineup during the playoffs. In fact, he was a starter in the game the Clippers set a league record for the biggest postseason comeback in history against Golden State.

Head coach Doc Rivers has opted to start veteran Patrick Patterson over JaMychal Green several times this year, much to the confusion of many fans. If Green is going to remain a bench player, which makes sense considering his ability to defend and rebound, then more play-action should be run to get him going earlier in the game. Doing this will not only help spread the floor for Montrezl Harrell, who is usually undersized in his matchups but will also take some offensive burden off Williams and Harrell.

Giving a little more scoring responsibility to JaMychal will not only help him find his shooting rhythms but also allow Lou and Trez to stay fresh for the closing of games where their performances count the most.