Willie Green is expected to contribute key points for the Los Angeles Clippers when the NBA playoffs start, but the question for Clippers coaches will be whether or not to increase Green’s minutes to make him a more effective contributor.
In his 10th NBA season, Green is giving the Clippers steady leadership from the guard spot. Of the 70 games in which he’s seen action, he has drawn 59 starts but still only averages 16.6 minutes out of a 48-minute game. That’s in comparison to his career average of 20.8 minutes.
But coaches usually look for veterans with that starting experience to get everyone off on the right foot and then use their players who are better coming off the bench.
Green is averaging 6.3 points and 1.3 rebounds a game while shooting 46.1 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent in 3-pointers. His shooting is better than his career marks of 43.0 percent from the floor and 34.6 percent in threes. But his points average is down from his career mark of 8.8 points.
The Clippers are looking for the Willie Green who played on Wednesday at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves and, in 19 minutes, was 5-of-8 from the floor, 3-of-3 in 3-pointers and 2-2 from the line for 15 points and also dished out two assists.
They’re not exactly looking for the player, who in Friday’s 96-93 win over the New Orleans Hornets, was only 2-of-5 from the floor and had five points.
What the coaches like about Green is that his turnovers are at 0.4 per game. His ability to cover the ball remains this strongest asset and the Clippers will keep using him for that reason. But they won’t complain if he starts scoring more points.