San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green participated in a Google Hangout yesterday, hosted by Shot Science Basketball, where fans of the three-point and defensive specialist had a chance to ask questions live or via social networks.
Green had plenty to say about the Spurs, his focus in the offseason and even reflected a bit on the NBA Finals.
While Green may be known around the NBA more as a sharpshooter, it’s defense that gave him his opportunity with the Spurs.
“Definitely, Pop will definitely let you know that as soon you come in to the organization that’s what he stresses most. That’s the way I got my opportunity was playing defense not because I could shoot,” Green said. “The reason I got my opportunity…Manu got hurt not this past year but the year before four games into the season and they were looking for somebody to play defense and I made a couple stops and that’s how I got more minutes not because I could shoot. Defense is the main thing Pop focuses on.”
While the Spurs’ style and pace has shifted a bit more to accommodate the Spur’s offensive weapons, it’s interesting to see that defense remains a top priority. That defense made Green a key part of the Spurs’ efforts on that side of the ball against a high-octane Miami Heat offense.
While Green shot the lights out through a majority of the series, even when he struggled to get good looks at the basket, he continued to make great plays on defense, and especially in transition. Along the way he also broke Ray Allen’s record for made three-pointers in the NBA Finals.
“It feels good now obviously, but at the time I had no idea that I had done it until after the game and when I fount out I was pretty excited about it but I think I was more excited that we won the game,” Green said.
Coming off a marquee year, Green said he has spent the Summer working on “a little bit of everything” but focused on a few areas he thought were weaknesses in his game.
“Working on ball handling is a big key. Being able to put it on the floor and finish at the basket. I think shooting is one of my strengths so I’m pretty much working on my weaknesses,” he said.
“When you have a weakness you want to work on it every day so you get stronger. So ball handling and dribble drills are something I’m working on every day. Shooting, it comes every day because you could always get better at it. I’m trying to get stronger faster, more agility, more athletic and I think that’ll help my game.”
The North Carolina alumnus, who won a national title with the Tar Heels his senior season has been fortunate to work with two of the best coaches on both the collegiate and pro level with Roy Williams and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
Asked about the similarities between the coaches and you may be surprised to hear about which coach is a bit more intense.
“Similarities are that they are both very disciplined and strict. They like things done a certain way and they run their organizations a certain way in a good way. They do things the right way,” Green continued. “The differences I would say Pop is probably more laid back . Coach Williams is very laid back off the court but on the court he’s very intense and Pop is as well but I think he’s a little more sarcastic, probably tells a little more jokes than Coach Williams.”
But before Green got to work with Williams or Popovich, he apparently got to see plenty of the Spurs growing up watching games with his father.
“I used to watch Michael Jordan a lot and the Bulls. Never was really a big Knick fan,” Green said. “You know I also watched the Spurs too when I was a kid. I watched Timmy and those guys when I was a kid. To be able to share a locker room with them is kind of crazy.”
Although Green stated early on that he doesn’t like to reflect too much about the Finals, he was asked if he ever thought the Spurs had wrapped it up. From his answer, it’s easy to see Green will have plenty of motivation next season.
“I guess Game 6 at the end of the game I thought we pretty much had it even though I didn’t think we played our best basketball. But we let it slip away and it’s hard to get over,” he said. “I think it’s something I’ll never forget. I’ll always remember it. It hasn’t really set in as much yet. It’s something thats hard to get over but hopefully we’ll use it as motivation for next season.”
A few other highlights from Green’s hangout were that outside of basketball, he loves to sleep and watch movies, he owns two pet snakes, he played football up until his sophomore year of high school and he considers golf a frustrating sport. He also said that his sophomore year at North Carolina was tough for him, considering he went from playing plenty of minutes as a freshman and having to transition when a new class came in including Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Brandan Wright among others, and he had thoughts about transferring but chose to stay instead.
He was also asked about the non-call when Chris Bosh seemed to foul him on a last second three-point attempt the end of Game 6. Green said while there was a little contact, the officials didn’t call it so “it wasn’t a foul, I guess.”
For more on Green’s hangout, including his tips on making it to the NBA, his advice for discouraged players, maintaining composure in big games and being a better shooter, the full video is embedded below.