Danny Green looked like a different player in all three games to start the San Antonio Spurs season.
The story of San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green’s career surrounded 3-point shooting and stellar perimeter defense, or the prototypical “3-and-D” player. It led to an All-NBA Defensive Second Team award for the 2016-17 season, and a career mark of 40 percent from behind the arc.
These contributions came from Green as a starter, even though his contributions look that of a role player off the bench, at least on the offensive end (8.9 points per game for his career).
In the 2017-18 season, something looked different with Green, and not just his new haircut. He’s a different offensive player.
Catch and shoot. Maybe one or two dribbles and shoot. That was the story of the UNC product’s career through eight seasons. While the Spurs only played three games in the 2017-18 campaign, it looks like he’s trying to change that perception for now.
Suddenly, this one-dimensional offensive player looks different. He’s putting the ball on the floor, trying to create his own shot and driving to the basket. This play came in transition and with momentum in his step, but when does this ever happen?
Danny Green does this sometimes now I guess? It's pretty radpic.twitter.com/u0JELqDJyt
— Tom Petrini (@RealTomPetrini) October 24, 2017
That’s just a minor detail of what Green has done. It’s been through all three games, with Monday night as the standout performance. Don’t forget his five blocks, either — another treat.
Danny Green has been fun to watch this game. Defense as always and certainly worked on expanding his offense impact.
— Aaron Preine (@LosPreine) October 24, 2017
Did Green always have this in his game? He rarely displayed this to-the-hoop ability, lurking around the arc, in front or behind. It’s somewhat coincidental that it’s when Kawhi Leonard is out, with the Spurs needing the extra offensive production. Does that make this a short-term part of Green’s game before he returns to the 3-point line — almost full time?
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If not, maybe he spent the offseason working on expanding his offensive repertoire. It’s never too late for a player to work on an aspect of his game, as seen with LaMarcus Aldridge’s extended range. According to Tom Osborne of the San Antonio Express-News, Green did work on expanding his game but it took a long time:
“It’s only taken me like eight or nine years to get [creating shots off the dribble] down,” he joked.
“I’m getting some decent looks and trying to stay aggressive while we have some guys out,” said Green.
So, it looks like a combination of work and Leonard being out.
If this newfound part of Green game remains when the Spurs are healthy, it only adds another layer to this already deep team. The ball can be placed in his hands for an extra possession or two, and attempt to make something happen, rather than being a predictable part of the gameplan. Maybe this gets him out of the back-to-back sub-40 percent shooting seasons, as well.
79 games remain on the Spurs’ schedule, so there’s plenty of time to see if this does or doesn’t last. For now, though, Green looks like a new player and working wonders for this year’s team.