What's changed in Phil Greene's game this year? Well, if you just went by counting numbers he'd seem to be having a down season: 2.3 less PPG (10.1 last year, 7.8 this year), less rebounds, and less assists. But that's due in large part to much less minutes; 8.8 less, in fact, or about a 27% decrease.
But this is good news, because Phil Greene has turned into quite the outstanding contributor this season, and the reason actually has less to do with him than it does with someone else: Rysheed Jordan. Last season, nobody on the team could play the true point guard position aside from Jamal Branch, who battled some injuries and didn't exactly set the world on fire in any facet of the game. Because the offense relied heavily on D'Angelo Harrison and didn't have as many points coming from role players like Chris Obekpa and Orlando Sanchez this year (and much, much less when Harrison was suspended), Greene was needed to both score and handle the ball in more bouts than is optimal.
His role this year, as an occasional driver and jump shooter and defensive helper on the perimeter, has completely transformed his game. Last year he shot under 23% from three (a truly awful number), and this year he's above 42% (a fantastic number). Last year he averaged 1.3 turnovers per game, and this year he's improved to the 13th best TO% in the country according to Ken Pomeroy.
Thanks to Jordan being able to penetrate and run the offense from the top of the key, Greene's defender often has to double Jordan, allowing Greene to wait on the wings for open threes or cut to the basket and wait for the assist.
It's truly a remarkable turnaround, and it's been incredibly helpful for the Johnnies, who need Greene to be able to both shoot and drive, since if someone like Max Hooper takes his place all he can do is shoot, and if Sir'Dominic Pointer takes his place all he can do is drive.
Greene is having an excellent junior season, but don't just thank him. Thank Rysheed Jordan, too.