LA Clippers Betting: What’s Jeff Green’s Impact?

jeff-green-clippers-impactTo hear some analysts talk, you’d think that Jeff Green suddenly elevates the L.A. Clippers to the top of the Western Conference. Green does, after all, seemingly fit the versatile forward role that the Clippers have been searching for to supplement their core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. But is Green’s impact on the team being overstated a bit? Furthermore, will Green change how you bet on the Clippers from now on?

On paper, this trade definitely makes Los Angeles better right now – especially since they only gave up Lance Stephenson and a lottery protected 2019 first-rounder. Stephenson was only averaging 4.7 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 15.8 minutes for the Clippers, while Green contributed 12.2 PPG and 4.5 RPG in 29.1 minutes for the Grizzlies.

Cameron Stewart from HoopsHabit isn’t sold that Green will put L.A. above the Spurs and Warriors. But he does like what he sees out of the 29-year-old.

“Green can slide in at both forward positions and help stabilize an endlessly changing rotation of journeyman wings who have failed at opportunities to become a reliable small forward for the Clippers,” Stewart writes. “Green’s play in the absence of Blake Griffin will be very intriguing if the Clippers take a look at trading Blake Griffin in the offseason. Green is an unrestricted free agent after this season, but his time with the Clippers could be an audition to return to the Clippers next season on a bigger contract.”

This is of course true, and Green will certainly provide help while Griffin continues to sit with injuries to his hand and a stubborn quad muscle. Originally drafted fifth overall by the Boston Celtics in 2007, the seven-year pro has always teased scouts with his multi-dimensional game and 6’9″ frame. But the problem, as SB Nation’s Jesus Gomez points out, is that Green has never consistently been the player every team hopes he can be.

jeff-green-clippers-impact-1“We know that he has always been extremely inconsistent, his numbers have often been hollow and he’s never really figured out how to leverage his physical tools to help a team win over the long haul,” writes Gomez.

“Green rebounds like a small forward. He’s one of 24 players who are 6’8 or taller who pull down less than 15 percent of available defensive rebounds (minimum 1,000 minutes). Despite his length, he’s not a good post defender because of his slender frame, ranking in the 29th percentile in the league. He offers very little in the way of rim protection as well, allowing opponents to shoot over 50 percent on the attempts he contests at the basket. He commits so many mental errors defending the pick and roll and guarding players in isolation.”

These shortcomings might be alright, as Gomez points out, if Green could make the three-pointer at a high clip. But unlike a similar player such as Ryan Anderson (38.3% from three), he’s only hitting 31% from beyond the arc and 34% for his career.

Again, the Clippers will certainly be better with Green on the roster. But what kind of impact will he truly make once Griffin returns to the floor? Will he justifying slightly larger spreads for L.A. to cover with him?

The answer is really as hard to come up with as it has been for scouts to figure out how to unlock his Green’s physical gifts. One game he could hit 60% of his shots, score 20 points and look like the missing link to the Clippers’ championship squad. The next game he might make 30% of his shots, score 7 points and only grab 2 rebounds in 25 minutes.

Long story short, if you’re a Clippers bettor, proceed with caution for the first few games that Green is on the floor.

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