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Brannen Greene isn't shooting well, but can he contribute other ways?

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Brannen Greene hasn't been hitting many threes lately, but is that all he can do?

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago, Brannen Green was hitting threes at an absurd rate. His 60%+ 3 point% in conference play was far and away the best in the Big 12. In fact, he was hitting outside shots at a clip that was impossible to continue. Predictably, his 3 point numbers have dropped off in recent games. He's still hitting 50% in conference play, but after hitting 20 of his first 32 attempts through the first 11 games, those numbers have dropped drastically across the last four.

Since then, he's 2 for 12. Now, slumps are common for shooters and I have no doubt that Greene's 3 point stroke is coming back. What interests me lies in the other areas where Greene can benefit the team when his outside shots aren't dropping. He's generally regarded as a bit of a one-trick pony, but has shown flashes of ability in other areas this season.

Perhaps the best example is defensive rebounding. Greene has the second best defensive rebounding% of any non-post player on the team after Kelly Oubre. His 17.1% DR% in Big 12 play actually makes him one of the top 15 rebounders in the conference this year. In Big 12 play, he's actually been a better defensive rebounder than bigs Jamari Traylor and Landen Lucas. On a team that struggles at times on the defensive boards, this trait should not be overlooked.

As we all know, other parts of his defense can be areas of concern. Blocks and steals provide a limited picture of a player's defense, but neither category paints him in a flattering light. To my eye test he seems to be improving defensively (and I think that Bill Self continuing to give him meaningful minutes through his recent slump tends to support that), but there's no way to make an argument that he's one of our better perimeter defenders (and I think Bill Self's reluctance to give him huge minutes when he was raining in threes probably supports that).

So his defense can be shaky, but his rebounding is solid. What about his offense? Can he contribute in other ways than hitting threes? The answer is a resounding sort of. Inside the arc, Green is 11-22 in Big 12 play (both numbers are interestingly exactly half of his 3P numbers, meaning 66.7% of both his shot makes and attempts are from three point range). Per hoop-math.com, for the entire year, Greene is hitting 50% of his 2 point jumpers, and making 45.5% of his shots at the rim (where he takes only 10% of his shots). Greene is currently both Kansas' best 3 point and 2 point jump shooter. His recent trouble hasn't prompted him to change his shot distribution, though. While he's gone 2-12 from three during this short stretch, he's 3-5 from two.

The biggest way that Greene helps the offense aside from his threes is his free throw shooting. Greene also has the best FT% on the team, hitting 90.5% of his shots. That's not for lack of sample size, either. Greene has hit 38-42 attempts. It should be noted, however, that those numbers have been bolstered by Self putting the ball in his hands in late-game situations where he anticipates being fouled. Only 12 of his 27 free throw attempts in Big 12 play have come in games that were not single-digit Kansas wins. It is probably worth noting that he's shot seven free throws in the last two games, and none of those came in late-game intentional foul situations, so maybe he's working on getting more aggressive.

Getting away from scoring, his TO% is second-lowest on the team among guards, but that likely says more about his role in the offense than his handle. I think the eye test is sufficient to tell us we don't want Greene dribbling around much. His assist rate isn't great at 9.7%, but it is tied for Kelly Oubre at 5th highest on the team, so it's not nothing.

At the end of the day, Greene needs his shooting touch to play consistently high minutes, but he's not the spot-shooting role player he's often made out to be. His lack of ball handling and individual defense are going to keep him from taking many minutes from his fellow guards, but he has skills that suggest he should be on the court even if the threes aren't dropping. He provides defensive rebounding from the wing, which is something the team has needed lately, and he makes the few two point shots he takes at a respectable clip. When he gets to line, it's virtually guaranteed points. Throw in the occasional assist and he's an overall benefit to the team when he's on the floor. Now, if those threes start falling again, it would be really beneficial.