Two time NBA Champion Danny Green will return to San Antonio as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
The most fun that I have ever had watching the San Antonio Spurs was over two years from 2012-2014 during the Spurs back to back trips to the NBA Finals. The Finals aside, there was just something special about those teams. The multinational makeup of the rosters, the style of play, the storylines around the team, all of it came together to make those two years like nothing else I’ve seen.
It was the last time the legendary trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili would make a Finals run. And as much as that two-year stretch served as the beginning of the end, it also marked the start of the rise of players like Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
Leonard and Green came into NBA prominence as members of those Finals teams. Leonard used those runs to announce himself to the rest of the NBA as one of the brightest young stars in the league. His defense against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in those games is legendary. Green wrote his name in the Spurs record books with his electrifying shooting performances.
Look where we are now. The San Antonio Spurs, with Tim Duncan as an assistant coach, just traveled to Los Angeles to play Kawhi and the Clippers. Patty Mills is still torching teams, as he did to the Golden State Warriors on Friday night. And now Danny Green will make his return to San Antonio as a teammate of LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers.
You would not have been able to convince a single Spurs fan in the summer of 2014 that this is how the league would look in five years. There is actually a less than zero percent chance they would have believed you. Danny Green and LeBron together on the Lakers? No way.
But the truth is Green is fitting in well in Los Angeles. It was no surprise to see him sign with the Lakers this summer, he’s a perfect fit on a LeBron led team. Surrounding himself with shooters and using his one of a kind passing to generate open three’s has long been James’s preferred path to success. Green’s always been a great catch and shoot player so the schematic fit was a no brainer. The appeal of Los Angeles, the Lakers, and a third championship ring also had to have helped Green decide to sign.
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We saw the connection between James and Green on opening night. The Clipper debut of Kawhi Leonard and pairing of Anthony Davis and LeBron were the main attractions but it was the play of Green that kept the Lakers in the game. The 28-point debut, including seven made three-pointers, was just the kind of night that Green can have on a regular basis when he’s playing with James.
When Danny Green first returned to San Antonio as a member of the Toronto Raptors the Spurs showed a brief but touching tribute video to Green and Leonard before the player introductions. The crowd went wild when it was over and Green was introduced. The reaction to Leonard went exactly how people expected it would.
As a member of the 2014 championship team and one of the best shooters in team history, Green will always be positively received in San Antonio. Playing the Lakers and LeBron James will always put fans in seats but welcoming a Spurs legend like Green back will make the matchup between the two teams even more special.
The San Antonio Spurs will welcome Danny Green back to the Alamo City with the kind of reception he deserves. But when the ball goes up at tip-off it’ll be all business as San Antonio looks to build on their impressive start to the season.