. I'm not sure how many different ways I can say, "This guy should not be playing," but I'm sure we'll find out after the jump.
Let me begin by saying Willie Green seems like a genuinely nice guy. I mean, from all accounts, he's an outstanding human being. On a personal level, he's done nothing objectionable as far as I know. He seems to play hard, for the most part. I have nothing against Willie Green, the person. Willie Green the basketball player, well, I have a huge beef with that guy.
You know how even when Andre Iguodala has what seems like a quiet game, you can look at the box score afterward and be shocked by how he filled up the columns? Like, he didn't shoot particularly well and he didn't score a ton of points, but somehow he wound up with 8 boards, 7 assists and 3 steals? Well, Willie is the exact opposite. Even when he seems to have played a halfway decent game, you check out the stats and see a bunch of zeros across the board.
Let these numbers sink in for a second:
- 22 times last year Willie played more than 15 minutes without grabbing a single rebound.
- 4 times he played more than 25 minutes without grabbing a single rebound.
- 11 times he played more than 15 minutes without dishing out a single assist.
- 5 times he played more than 17 minutes without a single assist nor a single rebound.
- 45 times (out of 81 total games) he had three or fewer assists plus rebounds.
We're talking about a guy who played over 1,800 minutes. A guy who started for a majority of the season, contributing absolutely zilch in any area other than scoring. And as a scorer, he just wasn't efficient at all. 8.1 shots/game for 8.5 points. Sam Dalembert used his field goal attempts more efficiently than Willie Green.
This is nothing new for Willie. In fact, 2008-2009 was actually one of his better seasons. Nothing has really changed throughout his career, and odds are nothing will until he retires. He is who is. And who he is not a rotational player on a playoff team, plain and simple.
The good news is the Sixers have apparently come to their senses and plan to start Iguodala at the two, with Lou at the point. This immediately limits the potential minutes Willie could play. Personally, I think the fact that they let Andre Miller walk also points to the marginalization of Willie. The team wants to move toward youth, look to the future. Simply put, Willie is a 28 year-old, overpaid end-of-the-bench player. Giving him significant time will help the team in neither the short nor long term. If the goal is to make the playoffs and win as much as possible, the minutes would be better spent on Royal Ivey. If the goal is to develop the youth, they absolutely must go to Jrue Holiday. I often saw Willie as a crutch for Mo Cheeks and Tony DiLeo. A guy they were comfortable with, who could hit a couple of jumpers, and hey, the team was paying him all that money, may as well use him. I don't think it hurt that he was a good guy. That feeling of gratitude, or charity, or whatever it was should be gone with a new coach in town, and it's my sincere hope that Willie finds himself where he belongs, at the end of the bench.
One note about the stats: I say 8 minutes per game, but that's really just per games that he plays in. He should tally quite a few DNPCDs, if all is right in the world.
Let's kick the weekend off by ending this post on a positive note. For all that Willie either does poorly, or doesn't do at all, he is absolutely capable of getting extremely hot from the field. I mean, hot enough to carry the team for a quarter. It doesn't happen all that often, but you can use a guy like that for desperation stretches. I'm hoping that's the role he plays. Think of him as Donyell-light this season. When the offense is completely stagnant and you're down by double digits midway through the third quarter, call Willie's number and see if he can't catch fire and get you back in the game.