He’s no Jeremy Lin, but San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green’s journey to being a regular in the NBA is an unconventional one to be sure.
He was a starter on the 2009 UNC championship team and then was drafted in the middle of the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He rode Cleveland’s bench for much of the 2009-2010 season (LeBron’s last year in Cleveland), spent some time in the D-League and then signed with the Spurs midway through November or last season, was waived, later resigning with the team.
When this season started Green was slotted as the Spurs third shooting guard/small forward with Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Kawhi Leonard and James Anderson all in his way of regular minutes. Then, one fateful game against Golden State in early January changed everything for Green. His eight point second half helped spark a come from behind victory for the Spurs and Green started getting regular minutes as Coach Pop’s first guy off the bench. Now, he’s the team’s starter until Manu Ginobili comes back from his second injury of the season.
As a Spurs fan, chances are you knew a lot of this, but now Green’s story is getting some national attention. Keith Schlosser with the New York Times’ NBA blog, Off The Dribble, wrote a piece on Green’s journey to the league. In it, Green admits luck had something to do with his playing time this season.
“I got lucky because Manu plays my position. When he went down, my team needed me,” Green said. “I’ve tried to take advantage of it. I’m hitting shots, playing good defense, and Coach Pop’s been showing more trust in me as I do.”
While he may have gotten lucky to get this much playing time, there’s no question that from here on out, Green is going to be a regular for the Spurs for at least the rest of this season. It will be interesting to see if Pop continues to start Green once Manu gets healthy and back in rhythm. Green seems to have found his own rhythm with the rest of the starting, so it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if he stayed put and they let Manu and T.J. Ford engineer the second unit. Actually, a second unit of Ford, Ginobili, Leonard, Matt Bonner and Tiago Splitter doesn’t sound so bad. This doesn’t even include Gary Neal, who will surely get regular minutes as well. Either way, good for Green for taking advantage of his oppurtunity and getting some national publicity in the process.