NBA great and Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd wants Australian swingman Josh Green to turn himself into a playmaker after his 10-assist outburst on Tuesday.
The Olympic bronze medallist had missed four games after he was one of several Mavericks sent into the COVID-19 protocols and he impressed Kidd, who made the recent NBA 75th anniversary team, with his passing in the 132-117 win over Portland.
Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green drives to the basket.Credit:AP
Green, 21, was the third-youngest Maverick to have 10 or more assists in a game, trailing Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith jnr who both hit that number as 19-year-olds.
Kidd is fourth on that list with his first 10-assist game for Dallas also coming as a 21-year-old.
Green also had nine points and a season-high two steals in 26 minutes and he could have more chances to shine with multiple teammates still in the protocols.
“Josh was great,” Kidd said after the Portland game.
“All his passes were impressive, but the big thing was his intent to attack. I think he’s picked up where he left off. He was playing at a high level for us and he continued that, even after COVID, he was driving the ball and finding teammates.
“He made some incredible passes and now we know he is capable of doing that, we will have to build on it.”
“He’s showcasing what he can do,” Kidd said.
“He didn’t force anything and made the right reads. He needs to build on that, he still has a ways to go but he has a good foundation to build on because he is unselfish and when we have multiple playmakers on the floor, it makes us that much better.”
Green feels he is starting to find his place in the NBA early in his second season.
“I felt like I was just getting my rhythm and then COVID hit,” Green said. “It was frustrating being at home and missing out on games but I was making sure I was ready to come back and help the team.
“When I was young I used to be a point guard then I started growing. Playing international basketball, I enjoy playing off the pick and roll.”
Green said COVID didn’t hit him too bad.
“It wasn’t too bad. I had one night where I was a bit congested,” Green said.
Fellow Australian Josh Giddey has had his exceptional rookie season put on pause after he was put into the COVID-19 protocols this week, with the Thunder losing their coach Mark Daigneault and six other players to the protocols.
NBL veteran says teams will deal with delays
Melbourne United forward David Barlow echoed the thoughts of many when he was asked about dealing with another COVID-19-interrupted season on Thursday.
The two-time Olympian admitted he pictured this season having far fewer interruptions but, like people across all other walks of life, NBL players would deal with events as they happen.
Barlow also admitted the prospect of any side avoiding COVID-19 issues looked unlikely.
“In the pre-season I would have said ‘Nah, I think this season will run a lot smoother than last season’,” Barlow said.
“Now things have changed. It’s unfortunate. I feel for the people trying to organise it [the NBL] and for the teams dealing with this issue. Hopefully, we can avoid it however unlikely that may be. It may remain this way for the rest of the season, time will tell.”
League plans to play postponed games in January
NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said the league planned to schedule the catch-up games in January and they didn’t plan to extend the season or go into a hub.
“We don’t have any plans at this stage to extend the season or move to a hub,” Loeliger told radio station RSN on Thursday.
“I wouldn’t say cram games in, but we are going to reschedule them for the current period. We kept Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and to a large extent Thursday relatively free so to be able to reschedule postponed games.
“The games that have been postponed so far will be able to be slotted into January.”
Father/daughter honours for Cole family
Few players personify the grit and determination of the WNBL better than Bec Cole and the Southside Flyers guard was all heart in a memorable 200th game on December 23.
Cole had 24 points as her Flyers came back from 18 points down in the second quarter to beat Townsville Fire 86-81 at Dandenong Stadium.
After overcoming serious knee injuries early in her career, Cole has become of Australia’s most consistent scorers and a championship winner with the Flyers last season.
Bec’s milestone followed an impressive achievement by her dad Gary Cole, the former Socceroo, national league striker, coach and administrator who was inducted into the Football Victoria Hall of Fame earlier that week.
Gary has been a fixture around the WNBL through his daughter’s career and a great supporter of the competition.
Keep an eye on the Flyers’ home clash with Perth Lynx on January 6 as it could be a finals preview. The WA club, which will relocate to Ballarat to start the season, have signed Opals and WNBA shooter Sami Whitcomb who starred for the Opals at the FIBA Asia Cup earlier this year.
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