When Manu Ginobili went down with an injury, it was a chance for San Antonio Spurs’ Danny Green to step up to the plate. He’s taken that opportunity and made the best of it, becoming a huge part of the Spurs’ success this season.
Green did an interview with Dimemag.com where he talked about getting his chance, his phantom buzzer beater and a few other things.
During Green’s first season with the Cavaliers and his second season with the Spurs, he didn’t get much playing time at all. It looked like he was on track to fade into NBA obscurity. So how was he so prepared to rise to the occasion this season?
“I don’t think that anything has changed. It’s just been about finding my niche in whatever system I’m in. Over the summer when I was working out, I was working on things that the Spurs needed from me like corner threes and defense, which is just, you know, a desire to want to play. Defensively, I just try to be active and know the principles of the system here and the principles they live by; so if you know those then you can’t go wrong. Offensively I’ve just been trying to be a more consistent three-point shooter, especially from the corner. This being my first year playing, and with so many back-to-back-to-backs, of course you’re not going to have a great shooting night or have your legs every night, but when I got the opportunity, I kind of lucked out and was lucky enough to make some shots, hustle, play defense, and do some of the little things. So, my game hasn’t changed much it’s just, I guess, my attitude and my ability to adjust to the system better than before.”
Green then talked about his “buzzer beater that wasn’t” against the Mavericks, where he hit the game winner but it was just after the buzzer and didn’t count. It showed that coach Popovich had a lot of confidence in him to draw up a play that had him taking the final shot. He said he was actually surprised that he got the ball but he thought he actually got it off at the time. Even though it didn’t count, he thinks the fact that he made it should give the coaching staff some confidence in him going forward. I have to say I agree.
He then went on to talk about the tough players in the Western Conference that he’s not too eager to see in the playoffs, namely Kevin Durant of the Thunder and Kevin Martin of the Rockets.
“Of course Oklahoma City, they’re the top team in the West, and then you have Miami in the East. (Note: Green and the Spurs knocked off the Thunder last Friday, fueled by Green’s 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting.) There’s a couple guys on that team who are very hard to guard. Obviously Kevin Durant is very hard to guard, Westbrook and Harden, all three of them on the floor at the same time, it’s not easy. Of course Houston give us a run for our money every time we play them – Kevin Martin, they’re very tough. And then of course Miami with the Big Three – when you have a bunch of guys who can play on the floor, with mismatches, they’re tough to guard all at once, so I think those are the teams that nobody looks forward to play. But those are the big games that everyone loves to play as well.”
He mentioned how the Spurs are very professional around the trade deadline, not talking about where anyone might end up. He also had some good things to say about his Alma Mater, North Carolina’s chances in the NCAA tournament this year.
All in all it was a pretty solid interview, definitely worth reading.