Role players aren’t really popular among casual basketball fans since they don’t show up on the box score with the most points scored, they rarely show up on the highlight reels, and they don’t win the big awards. However, well-built teams and true fans of the game recognize that to become a legitimate championship contender, you need to surround the high-scoring highlight reel material superstars with reliable role players.
No other team has produced the type of solid contribution from their role players, whether it shows up on the box score or not, than the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs organization have always found the right type of supporting cast that complements their star players and have won multiple championships because of it.
Maybe it’s the system that coach Gregg Popovich has put in place, or it could be the willingness of the former Spurs’ superstars to allow their teammates to be great. Maybe it's a combination of both. But whatever it is, role players who played with San Antonio often have the best time of their careers there.
Here are the role players that truly shined with the San Antonio Spurs and helped the team achieve the prestige that it enjoys as the team with the highest winning percentage in NBA history.
5. Danny Green
Danny Green started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who drafted him 46th overall in 2009. He was waived by the Cavs the same year he was drafted and was picked up by the San Antonio Spurs a year later. He was actually waived by the Spurs, which led to a stint in the G League before eventually he was eventually signed by the team again.
The sharpshooter from the University of North Carolina solidified his reputation as one of the most reliable three-and-D players in the league, which altered his career path from being a bench warmer and a G League standout to a solid starter, having started in 464 games in his eight seasons with the Spurs.
In those eight seasons, he averaged nine points, one block, and one steal per game. His best year was during the 2014-15 season, where he set a career high 11.7 points per game, 1.1 blocks per game and an impressive 87% from the free throw line. He also made significant contributions to the offense during their 2014 title run, draining 47% of his threes.
The two-way swingman was included in the trade package that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Great White North in exchange for DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl in 2018. He has continued to have a solid career in the league, but Green established himself and had the best time of his career with the Spurs.