5 Players who must step up if Mavericks want to make the NBA Finals

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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3. Josh Green

Josh Green has been a fairly large wildcard for the Mavericks in these playoffs, as the 23-year-old Australian saw his shooting fluctuate from game to game in the Mavericks' second-round series versus the Thunder. Green scored 11 points in Games 1 and 2 of the Conference Semifinals respectively, and his defensive production seemed to follow his offensive production in those contests as well.

In the remaining four contests of that series though, Green never scored above six points once, and never recorded more than one made 3-point field goal in any of those games either. Green was handsy and extended a lot of hustle on defense against the Thunder, but his discipline on defense often faltered toward the end of the series, as he was getting beat at the point-of-attack oftentimes by virtue of the footwork of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams.

Asking Green to guard the best ball handlers in the NBA in his minutes off the bench isn't the easiest task for a young player who is still learning how to best accentuate his physical gifts on the defensive side of the ball, but it's something that Green will have to improve upon if the Mavericks want to contain the likes of Anthony Edwards and Mike Conley on a consistent basis in this coming series.

Getting Green going offensively was a point of emphasis for Dallas after his rough shooting performance in the first round versus the Clippers, but he didn't look confident with the ball in his hands in the second round outside of the first two games in OKC. Green having a few really good 3-point performances as well as some duds is to be expected in a playoff series given the caliber of shooter he is, but he could certainly do a better job of keeping the defense honest with his ability to create off the dribble as well as his ability to push the ball in transition going forward in these playoffs.

Green has certainly helped the Mavericks in these playoffs off the bench and he has hit some very timely shots, but the Mavericks need him to be better across the board if they want to advance to the NBA Finals.