FanPost

Time to Crank Up the Green Machine?

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Gerald Green is a freak and is absolute dynamite on the hardwood. Many did not expect much of Green, but we were all blindsided by an impactful veteran that helped drag the Suns from the cellar of the West.

In the wake of Jude LaCava's "You can take it to the bank [...]" comment on FoxSports 910 Radio in regards to Eric Bledsoe being on the trading block, Suns fans must be intrigued with the potential trade scenarios and solutions to replacing Bledsoe if a trade does occur.

If one looks at the situation, it is safe to say the Suns have minimal leverage when it comes to securing a haul in return for Bledsoe's services. EB, as a talent, would typically have extremely high value Dudley + 2nd rounder, but his RFA status is hindering his tradability.

Bledsoe has the power to reject or refuse any trade he doesn't deem worthy. Additionally, what team would want to sell the farm or relinquish an impact player in return for a guy who may sign his qualifying offer/ is demanding a max contract? I am sure any team who trades for Bledsoe would have the security that he intends to remain with the team, but as mentioned, the price-tag would have to be steep to earn Bledsoe and Rich Paul's approval.

If Bledsoe is traded, I don't think the return would garner an equal or better talent. I also don't think the Suns would swap for a guard of similar talent either so the Suns would go from deep to questionable at the guard positions.

To the point, if Bledsoe exits stage left, or right for that matter, the Suns will likely be left with a guard cabinet of Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Green, Archie Goodwin, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Tyler Ennis.

We know Dragic, Thomas, and Green would be flooded with heavy minutes and we have no idea how Goran and Isaiah will mesh in comparison to Goran and Eric. I don't see any winning scenario where Archie or Ennis play significant roles either.

Gerald Green is a freak and is absolute dynamite on the hardwood. Many did not expect much of Green, but we were all blindsided by an impactful veteran that helped drag the Suns from the cellar of the West. An up-tempo system, a coach that never turned off the green light, and a significant injury was the perfect storm to fully utilize Green's talents.

I believe Gerald Green could start in the NBA, whether that be the Suns or another team in the association. I don't know what his worth would be on the open market, but if Jodie Meeks can secure $6+ million a season, Green would easily see an annual salary north of $7 million if he performs well this season.

Once this new Bledsoe "news" came out my first reaction was to simply start Goran and Green in the back-court with Thomas coming off the bench playing 28+ minutes a night. I don't think a Thomas/Goran two point-guard system would work as well as Bledsoe and Goran did. Thomas' defensive versatility is non-existent.

I had to dig into the numbers to see how Gerald Green performed with starters minutes to prove my thoughts. I could have simply gathered the totals from his starts, but I instead went with any game in which Gerald averaged 31 minutes or more per game.

It isn't exact, but the average starting SG in the NBA played about 31-33 MPG. I took every teams most common starting shooting guard divided their average minutes per game by 30 (teams). With a level of deviation, 31-33 minutes sounded like a fair range.

Gerald Green had 35 games in which he played 31 minutes or more. In these games, he averaged 34 minutes per.

This minute average places him in the playing time range of Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal, and Wesley Mathews, amongst others. I am going to use these three players for comparison, considering Mathews made a significant impact for a playoff team. Thompson and Beal made big impacts for playoff teams as well, and both are likely to be seeking near max deals when due for extensions.

Klay Thompson-GSW

MPG: 35.4 PTS: 18.4 REB: 3.1 FG%: 44.4 (15.5 shots) 3PT%: 41.7% (6.6 shots)

Bradley Beal-WAS

MPG: 34.7 PTS: 17.1 REB: 3.7 FG%: 41.9% (15.7 shots) 3PT%: 40.2% (4.7 shots)

Wes Mathews-POR

MPG: 33.9 PTS: 16.4 REB: 3.5 FG%: 44.1% (12.3 shots) 3PT%: 39.3% (6.2 shots)

Gerald Green (35 games of 31+ MPG)- PHX

MPG: 34 PTS: 16.9 REB: 4.0 FG%: 43.9% (14.7 shots) 3PT%: 37.8% (7.2 shots)

If you don't wish to analyze the stats, it is pretty clear that Gerald Green is on par with these other three shooting guards. Gerald actually shoots more threes than Klay Thompson, which I guess isn't that big of a surprise. Green is the best free throw shooter of the group, though none of them get to the line at a high rate.

In terms of points, Gerald compares in scoring output when given "starters" minutes. He is also the most effective rebounder of the group.

Green is a high volume scorer who scores a lot of points. When comparing Gerald to other shooting guards such as Kyle Korver, Aaron Afflalo, Jodie Meeks, and Lance Stephenson, and the three mentioned above, it appears Green shoots it and scores it more than almost anyone, but falls at the bottom of these players in terms of efficiency.

Some select advanced statistics paint a slightly different picture of Gerald Green's effectiveness.

Thompson

PER: 14.3 O-Rating: 108 D-Rating: 106 WS/48 mins: .112 Team Winning %: .622

Beal

PER: 14.3 O-Rating: 103 D-Rating: 107 WS/48 mins: .076 Team Winning %: .537

Mathews

PER: 14.3 O-Rating: 118 D-Rating: 110 WS/48 mins: .142 Team Winning %: .622

Green

PER: 16.5 O-Rating: 112 D-Rating: 108 WS/48 mins: .126 Team Winning %: .342 (35 games)

(**Full Season ADV stats for Gerald Green, besides Winning Percentage**)

Gerald Green had the best PER of these SG (including Korver, Meeks, Afflalo, Stephenson), and it wasn't that close. Nearly two full PER points ahead of max contract candidates Klay Thompson and Bradley Beal. Wesley Mathews and Aaron Afflalo were the only two competitors anywhere near Green in terms of PER. However, Green's PER was from his entire season of work, not just his 35 games of 31+ minutes, so take it for what you think it is worth.

The Green Machine also compared favorably in offensive and defensive ratings. He earned more Win Shares per 48 minutes than Thompson, and significantly more than Beal.

I went into this analysis assuming the Suns could start Green, with the addition of Thomas coming off the bench (or Green playing big minutes off the bench), and maintain a playoff competitive team, because I think Gerald is really good.

The numbers partially support this notion, but they also partially refute it. There is no definitive way to tell, unfortunately.

Overall, you can conclude with a tad of conviction that Gerald Green is just as effective as Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal, Wes Mathews, etc. However, these players were on winning teams, and pretty good winning teams. Gerald, when playing "starters" minutes, was not on a winning team. 12-23 is a very poor record in that sample size of Green exceeding 31 minutes per game. Though, it is fair to mention that the Suns losing Bledsoe for half of a season would inevitably lower the winning percentage in the games Green played more minutes as a result.

That winning percentage makes me pause, but as mentioned, Thomas coming off the bench would help balance out that statistic. I think the Suns could be pretty good with Gerald Green as the starting two guard. I just don't know if they would be a playoff team. Does a full season of Isaiah Thomas out weigh half a season of Bledsoe?

Isaiah Thomas' performance (and role)/ chemistry with Goran, Tolliver/Marcus/Markieff replacing Channing as the stretch 4, and Plumlee/Len's development will all be key factors in determining the Suns success.

I do think Gerald Green is ready to rumble as the third wheel in the back-court this year with Goran and Thomas if Bledsoe is traded. This scenario also sets up Gerald for a mammoth pay day next summer.

The Suns can weather the loss of Bledsoe, all they need to do is unleash the Green Machine.

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