Green Light! That is what Gregg Popovich is known to have given Danny Green and Patty Mills the privilege of being able to do whenever open.
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Those two guys are shooters and their job is to hit open shots, usually and preferably 3 pointers whenever possible. With a new Big 3 lineup with emphasis on the word big, there should be more open shots than last year’s campaign.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol should demand double teams quite frequently, and Kawhi Leonard will draw double teams when he takes the ball to the basket. That is where Green can make the defense pay with his prolific outside shooting touch.
He also is able to space the floor and draw defenders towards him, allowing Leonard, Aldridge, and the newly acquired Gasol, the room they need to go to work.
Last year a lot was made of Green being off with his shot during the regular season. Green shot 38 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3 point land during the 2015-16 season. More importantly, Green shot 46 percent from the field in the playoffs.
Apr 5, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) warms up prior to the game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
He was without a doubt in my mind, the only player besides Leonard and Aldridge, who had a a really good playoff showing. He also played his usual solid defense providing a one, two punch with Leonard as they continue to cover the opponent’s best two perimeter players.
The previous year in the 2014-15 season, Green lit up the regular season with 44 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3 point land. However, in the playoffs Green cooled off to an icy 34 percent shooting from the field, and an even frostier 30 percent from 3 point land.
I’ll take the hot playoff shooting over a great regular season shooting percentage all day long. I mean I enjoyed winning the Championship in 2014 a lot more than being eliminated in the 2nd round last year.
The fact that the Spurs had their best regular season record ever is great, but I’ll take less wins and a Championship any day of the week. The fact is that Green has the nickname, “Icy Hot”, and it fits him to a tee.
Green brings the defense every night, even when his shooting is off, and I admire that about him. He also has the worst ball handling skills since Bruce Bowen, and Jaren Jackson. So Green depends on his teammates to get him open, and when he is hot, the Spurs seem to be almost unbeatable.
Even when cold, the fact that he stretches the floor , and plays tenacious defense are attributes that make him very valuable.
I hope Green has a good season shooting the ball as the Spurs get ready to kick off the first season without their legendary leader, Tim Duncan. His hot hand played a huge role in both the Spurs previous trips to the Finals in 2013 and 2014.
Green shot in the mid to upper 40 percentile range from both the field in general and from the 3 point stripe throughout both of those runs to the NBA Finals.
He should get lots of open looks this season and this season’s playoffs. If he gets hot at the right time again, the Spurs will be a tough out and could make another deep playoff run.