After the Los Angeles Lakers swung a blockbuster trade to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, they turned around and made a key signing by adding Danny Green on a two-year, $30 million contract to help fill out the roster.
The veteran shooting guard was an integral piece on the 2018-19 Toronto Raptors team that stunned the league and won the 2019 NBA championship, the first in their franchise’s history. Green’s combination of perimeter defense and outside shooting helped upset the Golden State Warriors and that skillset was key for the Lakers securing the top seed in the Western Conference this season.
When recently speaking with Jared Dudley on his Instagram Live, Green compared this year’s Lakers team to the 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs:
“I feel like this Lakers team is more similar to our (2014) Spurs team than the Toronto team (last season). In Toronto, we had a lot more younger guys. San Antonio, we had a lot more vets, older guys, but we had a mix. Me and Kawhi were a little younger, but in our primes, and then we had some older guys. In Toronto, they were a winning organization in the East but me and Kawhi had to bring it to the next level.
“Help them understand the small things it takes to get to the next level, get over the hump, get to the Finals and win, defensive plays, 50-50 balls. But for us, the similarities that I see (to the Spurs’ team) is that we have a lot of experience, and we have the depth — we definitely have the depth. And obviously the most healthy team always wins, and that’s usually a little part of the luck, but a team that’s clicking at the right time. We were rolling, bro. We were rolling at the right time. Beating the teams that we needed to beat.”
That Spurs team Green referenced went on to win the 2014 NBA title, coincidentally against the LeBron James-led Miami Heat. San Antonio upset Miami with their beautiful ball movement on the offensive end, finding cracks in the defense and capitalizing on open looks throughout the series.
As Green mentioned, both that San Antonio team and this year’s Los Angeles roster boasted depth and veteran savvy, two key things needed for any title contender. The Lakers won numerous games on the back of their collective experience, and now are in the final stretch of a potential championship run.
Green maintained confidence
Green was among the Lakers who struggled to struggled to shoot throughout much of the seeding games in the bubble. Green turned the corner, and after Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope referred to him as “Playoff Danny.”
“I mean, I’m far from that,” Green said in response to the nickname. “Far from where I know I want to be or where I should be, but I just try to do my job the best of my ability and be active. That starts at the defensive end of the floor and then making the game easier or for the guys around me.
“Offensively, I know it’ll come, but of course I want to knock down shots and hopefully build rhythm. Finally starting to see the worm turn for me here, some games here and there. But I know we will always have a chance when we have LeBron and A.D. offensively and defensively. As long as I do my job we’ll always be in games whether I play well on the opposite end of the ball or not.”
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