It's time to take a look back on the 2008-2009 season, and assess how each player performed. More importantly, though, I want to pay close attention to how the pieces on this young team progressed. It's Willie Green's turn today. Stats, trends, highlights and lowlights after the jump.
This one was an easy choice. On November 12, Willie had 9 assists against the Toronto Raptors. That stat alone made the decision for me, but he was also 6/10 from the floor, 3/4 from three, grabbed 2 boards, chipped in a steal and a block and didn't turn the ball over once.
This was a much harder decision. Here's a fun stat for you, 22 times this season, Willie played 15 minutes or more and didn't grab a single rebound. Not one. 10 times he played 15 minutes or more and didn't dish out a single assist. 5 times he played more than 15 minutes without grabbing a single board or dishing out a single assist. So the question is, should Willie's worst game be one where he played a ton and just didn't contribute anything, or should it be the game where did the most damage? I can't decide, so here's the worst of each.
- December 10th vs. Cleveland - 20 minutes, 1/6 from the floor, 0/2 from three, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 turnover.
- February 21st @ Miami - 17 minutes, 0/9 from the floor, 0/3 from three.
I have two positive things to say about Willie Green. The first is that he didn't do anything to proactively kill this team this season. His presence killed the team, but he didn't do anything above and beyond to further the damage. Basically, he played sub-par defense, on offense, he would catch-and-shoot pretty much exclusively (not efficiently, but exclusively). He ran a horrible break, but luckily he rarely did anything to start the break with the ball in his hands, so that damage was minimal.
The second positive is that his role was drastically reduced. He played 142 fewer minutes, and his usage percentage dropped from 23.9 to 18.9. It took six seasons, but his teammates and coaches finally figured out they need to minimize the damage he does to the team.
Overall, Willie was about as bad as he's always been. No growth, no decline. He's just Willie. He shouldn't be a starter in this league, and the team will never take a step forward until he assumes his rightful role, either at the end of the bench or somewhere in Europe.