It seems overly critical to comment on any slightly negative storyline from the San Antonio Spurs after that dominant game 1 victory, but the enigma of Danny Green resonated even after the final whistle.
Green started the game at shooting guard, and played a solid 20 minutes. He got 3 steals, 3 rebounds, and registered a plus 10 for when he was on the court. However, he only shot the ball one time on offense (it was a made 3 pointer).
Green had an awful year shooting the basketball, and a pivotal question going into these playoffs was whether Green was going to continue that trend in the postseason or snap out of his funk.
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He appeared hesitant to get involved in the Spurs’ offense in this opening playoff game. Tony Parker looked rejuvenated in game 1 after a similarly underwhelming regular season to his standards, but Parker possesses the confidence of a star who has lead teams on playoff runs before and believes that he can flip the switch when necessary.
Green has never had Parker’s ability to take over a game through offensive facilitation or driving to the hoop for easy buckets. Green has proven that he can turn a game upside down with his perimeter shooting, but it’s always been through a catch-and-shoot flow.
It’s hard for Green to meaningfully contribute on offense beyond shooting, and with a skill that is so connected to both rhythm and confidence, it may also be challenging for Green to all of a sudden regain his stroke.
This is the same guy that broke the NBA Finals record for 3 pointers in a single series just 3 years ago. The Spurs may not need him to return to form to beat the Grizzlies, but Green’s outside shooting becomes more important going deeper in the playoffs.
Hopefully this series can allow Green an opportunity to get some reps in without the pressure of being relied upon to deliver. He can’t rediscover that smooth shooting by only attempting one shot in 20 minutes, though. His teammates need to encourage him to fire away, because they’re going to need his outside touch to win the championship.