Danny Green is starting to get his groove back, just as the San Antonio Spurs are approaching a series that requires more of his assistance from the perimeter.
Green fought through a tumultuous season shooting the ball, and remained a key member of the Spurs’ rotation mainly for his stalwart defensive play. His defense was impressive enough that the Spurs learned to live with his suddenly erratic shooting in exchange for superb defensive performance that justifies recognition from followers of the league.
Green’s presence in the Spurs’ upcoming series against the Oklahoma City Thunder appears to come without any expected caveats, as Green was able to use the previous series against the Memphis Grizzlies as a glorified practice forum to regain his smooth stroke.
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After a bashful game 1 performance where he seemed hesitant to let it rip on offense, Green eased back into the flow of silky outside shooting as the series progressed.
Game 2 revealed the self-assured version of Green that had been dormant for quite some time, as he was obviously rattled by unforeseen lackluster shooting. His niche on the team and in the league had been carved by his precision from downtown, and he faced an existential crisis of what he brought to the team on offense without that ability.
He searched through darkness and finally found the switch that flipped on the light. He reminded everyone why opposing fans would groan anxiously whenever Green let it loose from deep. He went 2-4 from 3 point range in game 2, looking like the Green of old.
Brewing with even more confidence for game 3, Green nearly doubled his attempts from long distance. He put on the type of clinic that he’d become famous for in the past, going 4-7 on 3 pointers while doing his part to ignite the offense.
In game 4, he only shot the ball once from deep in 18 minutes of play, but less stock should be put in a close-out game with a team up 3-0 and looking inevitable to advance to the next round.
One of the key things that the Spurs wanted to see in that series was Green reclaiming his ability to hit perimeter jumpers on a more consistent basis. Shooting is all about rhythm and confidence, and the only way for Green to recoup his touch from outside was to just keep shooting and not be afraid to hit some bumps along the way.
Green’s shooting displays over his career have cemented him as one of the truly elite perimeter marksmen in the NBA. Against an Oklahoma City Thunder lineup that is capable of huge scoring outputs, not only is Green going to have to continue playing lockdown perimeter defense, but he’s also going to have to hit some big 3 pointers for the Spurs to pile on points in their offensive attack.
For players who averaged at least one 3 point attempt per game in the regular season, Green ranked 6th on the team in 3 point percentage at about 33%. In the Memphis series with that same criteria, he ranked 4th on the team with about 46%.
Green is trending in the right direction, just in time for him to set off some fireworks against the Thunder.