MySynergySports: Is Danny Green worth his contract?


May 20, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (4) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers forward Caron Butler (5) during game four of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

(Editor’s note: This is the seventh of a series of posts that detail the San Antonio Spurs in a much more defined, analytical light. Statistics courtesy of the excellent MySynergySports.)

Danny Green finally received an opportunity last season and parlayed that opportunity into a successful season.

His performance deemed a three-year, $12 million contract (fully guaranteed). Green’s season was especially timely considering his career was on the brink. Without a good season, he would have entered restricted free agency with little leverage. That is not an ideal prospect for a 25-year-old swingman.

Locking up Green was a prudent decision from the San Antonio Spurs organization as they retained a valuable asset for the next three years — at least. Green showed precipitous improvement this season and given his age could potentially develop even further. He is the ideal player to re-sign, too, because his best seasons are likely ahead of him and not behind him; teams generally struggle with this dynamic, typically choosing to pay for prior performance and not ensuing seasons.

But, nonetheless, it does seem like a leap to entrust Green to live up to his contract. He appeared in 28 games prior to this season. That isn’t someone that is necessarily the most reliable paradigm of success. Right? (Side note: timvp of Spurs Talk has an excellent write up on whether Green will live up to his contract. This piece isn’t intended to reiterate him, instead focusing on two specific possession types.)

Well, if Green at least continues his current pace then he will justify his contract.

The Spurs’ current offense, one requires the ability to score from the perimeter and efficiently score in transition, which is becoming a more prevalent option.

Green succeeds in both facets giving him an insurmountable edge over any other 2-guard on the roster (excluding Ginobili, of course.)

In transition, especially, Green provides an excellent combination of awareness and shooting prowess. He routinely creates transition opportunities because of his motor and, when the defense recovers, is able to find crevices of space on the perimeter when the defense collapses on ball handlers. Place him in the corner, where he shot 46% this season, and he’s deadly. On less efficient 3-point attempts, he is still deadly, converting on 42% on non-corner 3-point attempts.

Still, Green made 39.4% of his spot-up 3-pointers last season suggesting that he doesn’t need the benefit of disarray, generally created by running in transition. It’s this duality that made Green the most potent perimeter shooter on the Spurs last season. On the top-ranked 3-point shooting team that is remarkable. Why shouldn’t Green, then, retain this aspect of game?

There isn’t really anything quantifiable that can’t be easily translated for the duration of his contract. His small sample size aside, Green stands to have a successful career consisting of spot-up attempts from behind the arc and timely jaunts to the rim in transition. It’s a synonymous tandem that should lead you to believe that he will live up to his new contract.

Even if it does not seem that way on the surface.

For more on Green’s possession distribution and links to the first six parts of the MySynergySports series, check the chart below.

More Synergy breakdowns: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI