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In-Depth Player Study: Dominic Green

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The Strengths and Weaknesses of the UW Junior Wing

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Dominic Green

It’s Halloween which means it’s a good time to look at Dominic Green’s statistics. This article is part of a series which will provide an in-depth examination into each of the men’s basketball players returning in 2017-18. They will include a mixture of statistics, film study, and analysis. The statistics will come via a mix of Basketball Reference, Kenpom, and Synergy Sports. There are a lot of unknowns for next season given that the Huskies lost both their primary ball handler/star and their head coach. We may not know exactly how every player will be deployed but we can look at how they played last season and determine relevant trends to inform decisions moving forward. Check out previous editions for: Matisse Thybulle, Noah Dickerson, David Crisp, Carlos Johnson, and the Newcomers/Bench players.

Background

The 6’6” rising junior from Renton, WA was originally committed to Arizona State but re-opened his recruitment after Herb Sendek left and so Dominic ultimately signed on at Washington. There was wide variation in opinion about Green’s talent between recruiting services as Scout had him as their 91st overall prospect while ESPN had him as 69th just at Small Forward. ESPN described him as “an exceptional shooter” while Scout agreed that “he can knock down three-pointers off the catch and pull up and hit midrange jumpers.” Green may have done it in high school but the results haven’t been there at UW.

Green shot 27.7% from beyond the arc in his freshman season and just 29.4% inside of it. Almost 23 of his shots were from deep so he mostly played the role, ineffectively, of a catch and shoot specialist. He averaged 9.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per 40 minutes with low assist and turnover rates leading to a putrid offensive efficiency rating of 84.0 where 100 is average.

In his sophomore season, you could tell early on that Green decided to make an effort to expand his game and drive to the hoop more often. Unfortunately, Green’s shooting percentages only went up marginally and the extra driving caused his turnovers to go up as well. By conference play it was evident that Green’s confidence was shot and he may have been the worst offensive player in the Pac-12. Sadly, that isn’t an exaggeration. He finished with the fewest points per possession of any player in the conference with at least 200 total possessions. Green shot just 28% on 2-pointers and 17.3% on 3-pointers in Pac-12 play (at least he made all 4 of his free throw attempts). Ultimately, he finished averaging 10.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per 40 minutes.

On defense, Green is tall and has long arms which should give him the theoretical ability to be a good defender but he has the propensity to use those long arms to attempt blocks he shouldn’t and pick up fouls. He’s extremely lean and that doesn’t seem likely to change so he can still be bullied by bigger guards. And with that series of compliments, let’s dive further.

Offensive Strengths

Shooting Coming off Screens

There are 4 categories of offensive plays on which Green had at least 10 possessions. The only one which he finished better than the 21st percentile nationally was coming off of screens. So here we are. On these plays, Green averaged 0.957 points per possessions which places him in the 62nd percentile. You could also go with free throw shooting as Green was 2nd on the team last season in FT% at 75.9%.

Offensive Weaknesses

Everything Else

If this comes off as mean, I apologize. But as I mentioned above, Green played terribly last year and there’s no getting around that. It doesn’t mean he can’t put himself back together this year. Green clearly had talent when coming out of high school and it didn’t completely disappear but confidence isn’t accounted for in metrics and Green had none by the end of last season.

About 40% of Green’s total possessions last year were used as a spot-up shooter. That role requires at least one of two elements to be effective: an ability to make the 3-point shot or a quality pump fake and ability to make plays driving. Let’s address the first point. Green shot just 26% on catch and shoot jumpers last season on 50 such attempts for 0.78 points per possession. That total was good for just the 5th percentile among players with at least as many attempts. Green has good enough form on his shot and adequate length to shoot over people to be at least an average 3-point shooter. He’s a good free throw shooter so it isn’t broken shooting mechanics. It just hasn’t translated to live action.

Now for part 2. When Green put the ball on the floor the results got even worse. In these scenarios, Green averaged just 0.59 points per possession. These plays do tend to produce less points than an open 3-pointer so some decrease is understandable but the catch and shoot number was already quite bad. You can almost see the cogs working in Green’s mind when he drives. “Get to the basket. Get to the basket. Wait, there’s a guy in my way. What do I do now? Panic!” The action that occurred at the panic step was usually either a poor pass or an off balance pull up shot attempt. Either way, it didn’t turn out well. Green simply must process the game more quickly and have a plan when he gets into the lane.

Defensive Strengths

Man-to-Man Defense

We’re going to keep this one simple as well. Green didn’t play defense on a ton of possessions last year so there aren’t very large sample sizes on individual play types. However, there’s a stark difference between Green’s numbers in man versus zone.

When playing in man, Green gave up 0.79 points per possession which was good for the 68th percentile nationally. This gets back to some of the previously mentioned strengths and weaknesses that Green has. He has long arms. That is a helpful attribute on defense. Green can be slightly behind the man he’s guarding and still influence the shot.

He’s also able to stay engaged. If you’re looking at the individual rather than the team then man defense is much easier. You are guarding a player. Follow that player. If they get the ball, don’t let them get a good shot.

In reality, it’s more complicated then that. You have to also be aware of where the ball is and be in position to help a teammate who allows a drive without completely leaving your guy. But when you simplify things to the degree of: Dominic, when your guy gets the ball, don’t let him score, he’s actually pretty good.

Defensive Weaknesses

Defensive Awareness

This is the other side of the coin mentioned in the strengths. Green’s defensive stats look pretty good once his guy gets the ball and he’s in a position to defend. The problem is the player tracking defensive stats don’t account for the situations when Green is so focused on his guy that he lets someone drive by behind him or comes so far off his guy that another player is forced to contest the shot.

Green primarily plays one of the corners in the zone and he’s not good at closing out on shots in that position. Opponents shot 50% from beyond the arc against Green when he was the closest defender in the zone. Green is long and has good bounce but that’s not enough to stop shooters at the Pac-12 level.

Next Steps

I think perhaps the biggest indicator of Coach Hop’s ability as a head coach will be the performance of Dominic Green. By the end of last year, Green was so far inside of his own head that he might have discovered a new ecosystem full of organisms which have been raised entirely without a hint of the sun’s rays. It was bleak.

Kenpom.com offers similarity profiles to every season. The first two for Green’s sophomore campaign reveal interesting paths. Shawn Glover at Utah in 2011 shot less than 30% from deep and 40% from the field. He transferred to Oral Roberts and by his senior year shot 48% from 3-point range against weaker competition. Nick Masterson in 2016 for Kennesaw State shot 33% from beyond the arc and 37% from the field. He came back as a junior for the Owls and was 2nd in the country last season in 3-point % at 53.1%.

Both of those comparisons suggest that it’s possible for Green to rebound. I don’t think he’s going to shoot 45%+ from deep any time soon but if he could get into the mid 30’s it would salvage his value as a player. I believe that there are several parallel universes where Green becomes a good NCAA player. I’m just not certain it’s going to happen in a Husky uniform. If Hopkins is able to keep Green’s confidence up and make him a productive player for UW this year then it’s a sign that he’s a tremendous coach. If Green struggles mightily then decides to transfer and go elsewhere for his last year of eligibility it isn’t an indictment of Hop’s coaching acumen. It’d be akin to Neo not making the jump in the Matrix. Everyone falls on their first try; it doesn’t mean anything.

I tend to think that the latter of those scenarios is the most likely. This team has a glut of players at the wing. I would certainly put Green behind Matisse Thybulle, Jaylen Nowell, and Carlos Johnson. It’s also not crazy to think that he could be passed by Nahz Carter or Bitumba Baruti. Someone and likely multiple someones are going to be unhappy out of that group. And we know with the incoming recruiting class that multiple players will be transferring. My hunch is that Green will be one of those guys. But I wouldn’t mind being wrong.

2017/18 Predictions:

9 minutes per game, 2.4 points per game, 1.3 rebounds per game, 41.5%/29.6%/75.5% FG%/3pt%/FT%

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