The Toronto Raptors should try to sign Jeff Green with disabled player hardship

Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors need depth, and Jeff Green just became an available free agent. Should Toronto look to bring him in on a short-term deal?

Jeff Green is never going to be who fans and media hoped he would be. The tantalizing 6-foot-8 prospect was akin to the sirens of Greek mythology. He lured you in with highlights of slashing, playmaking, and defensive prowess. And on any given night, he could look like an All-Star. However, throughout the year, his production level was more on par with that of a quality backup forward. Right now, the Toronto Raptors could use a backup forward.

It was a bit of a shock to the system to see Green cut by the Utah Jazz. The 33-year-old veteran has struggled a bit, particularly with his efficiency as a shooter, but he appeared in all of the Jazz’s first 30 games and was averaging a hefty 18.4 minutes per contest. Similar to a microcosm of his career, Green wasn’t living up to expectations, but he was producing enough you expected him to keep his job.

But he didn’t. The Jazz wanted to sign G-League guard Rayjon Tucker to help give some scoring punch to their struggling bench unit (they also added Jordan Clarkson via trade). Apparently, they were willing to add Tucker at the expense of Green. Green was released, and now, according to ESPN”s Adrian Wojnarowski, he’s cleared waivers, making him available to all 29 teams on any contract he’s willing to sign.

Why the Toronto Raptors should be interested

Expectations are sometimes hard to shake. Because everyone expected/expects Jeff Green to be an impact player, sometimes it overshadows what he brings to the table. He’s a good defender (particularly in a switching scheme), he’s a mobile big who can set screens and work comfortably from the perimeter, and he can shoot it well enough to keep the defense honest.

The Toronto Raptors can sign Green (or another host of players) via the Disabled Player Hardship. The hardship would allow Toronto to add an additional piece while at least three players are injured. With Marc Gasol, Norman Powell, and Matt Thomas, all expected to miss another few weeks at minimum (and with Pascal Siakam‘s timetable still unknown), the Raptors could bring Green in for a few weeks to help tide them over until they’re fully healthy again. If things go well, they could release another player and sign Green to a season-long deal.

How he fits in

Defensively, Green fits next to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Serge Ibaka incredibly well. In bench units with Hollis-Jefferson, the Raptors could even consider switching 1-5. Both Green and Hollis-Jefferson are fantastic switch bigs and Toronto’s backcourt has enough fight and moxy to defend admirably the post. Paired alongside Ibaka, Nurse would most likely use a more “traditional” scheme. Green’s ability to get out on the perimeter is incredibly useful for all the blitzing and trapping the Raptors like to use to slow down opposing stars.

Chris Boucher could theoretically play next to Green, although neither is particularly skilled on the defensive glass and any pairing of the two would likely be crushed down low by opponents.

Offensively, Green can fit into a number of roles. He’s a mediocre shooter, but he needs to be guarded, particularly from the corner. He’s shot 39-percent from there each of the past two seasons. That translates to 1.17 points per shot attempt, significantly higher than the Raptors’ typical possession. When he’s not spotting up in the corner, Green can be used in the pick-and-roll. He’s a solid screen setter, and even in his advanced age, he can get up to finish around the basket. He’s struggled around the cup so far this season but was a good finisher in the two previous years with proper spacing around him.

Green can be the spacer alongside Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, or he can set screens and patrol the “dunker spot” (a spot alongside the baseline typically used for centers and good inside finishers) alongside Ibaka. His offensive versatility allows him to be whatever the Raptors need him to be.

Green’s a solid veteran who’s no stranger to changing teams or even switching teams midseason. He fits on the court, and by all accounts, is a consummate professional off the floor as well. He would have no problem acclimating himself to the Raptors roster in a short period of time.

If Green is looking to play for a contender or doesn’t have any fully guaranteed offers, the Raptors should try to bring him in on a short-term deal. He’s not going to be a superstar, but he’s a solid “innings eater” who can provide rotation-quality minutes while the team gets back to full strength. And if that works out, perhaps he could be even more.

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Do you think Jeff Green would be a good fit? Let us know in the comments below.