With Danny Green Comes Dependability

Feb 1, 2023 - 1:00 PM
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Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The month of February has finally arrived, and as is the case most years, the most exciting time of the NBA regular season. The reason being is that the NBA Trade Deadline, the NBA All-Star Game, and the start of playoff pushes for many teams around the league occur this month.

For the Memphis Grizzlies, the significance of each of these events continues to grow each year of the Taylor Jenkins and Ja Morant era, and should continue to be significant for years to come. Potential moves could be made in the coming days, hopefully multiple Grizzlies are named All-Stars, and the Grizzlies are one of the clear favorites in the Western Conference. However, this February has another significant date for the Grizzlies and their roster, and that date happens to be today.

It is the likely debut of veteran Danny Green in a Grizzlies uniform.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies-Media Day Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Though Green has missed the first 50 games of the season, his debut comes with a good amount of anticipation for a variety of reasons. Green revealed Feb. 1st as his likely return date several days ago, on a podcast episode that featured none other than Z-BO himself. Furthermore, Green’s return to health and availiability also adds a unique wrinkle to potential trade deadline plans for the Grizzlies, as many have logically speculated that Green could be the most obvious money matching piece of a package Memphis could send out at the trade deadline for a significant acquisition.

Perhaps the the most sensible yet least talked about reason why Green’s return is significant is how his skill set could aid the Grizzlies in a variety of ways. Obviously, for a team that needs shooting depth more than any other current contender as the postseason draws closer, Green is a great potential addition. While he likely will have his playing time monitored and will ease his way into the rotation, Green’s shooting ability should be utilized whenever he is on the court.

And the Grizzlies have plenty of reason to give Green the green light from the get go (alliteration and pun fully intended). Though Green may be entering the twilight of his career, his ability to be a significant shooting threat remains. Green is one of 46 players in NBA history with 1500 or more threes. However, what truly stands out about Green is that, among players in this group, he is 12th in 3P% and 5th in eFG%. This suggests Green is one of the smartest and most accurate three point shooters of his generation, and arguably in league history. Furthermore, while Green being 35 naturally suggests his overall talent and effectiveness may not be at the level it once was, he still can add clear value offensively with his shot.

Green’s shot quality and value becomes even more impressive when you consider how well it translates to the NBA Playoffs. Only five players in the history of the NBA Playoffs have made 300 or more career postseason threes while shooting 37.5% or better from three. They are Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, and Green. The fact that Green is a part of this group proves he is one of the most prolific postseason shooters in league history.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Philadelphia 76ers Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Furthermore, his production only gets better as the stage gets bigger. Only Curry, Thompson, and LeBron James have made more career threes in NBA Finals history than Green (whose total of 59 is tied with J.R. Smith for fourth all-time). And again, for Green, his production is clearly more quality than quantity. Among the 14 players in league history with 100 or more career three point attempts in the Finals, only Derek Fisher and Allen have a higher 3P% than Green, who has made 42.1% of his threes on the game’s biggest stage.

The other important factor to consider is the fact that Green’s elite shooting production in the postseason has been consistent throughout his career. Just eight months ago, at the age of 34, through two playoff rounds, Green shot 40.7% from three and made 15+ threes in each playoff round for the 76ers. He was one of only six players in last year’s playoffs to make 30 or more threes while shooting 40% or better from three, a group that included fellow Grizzly Desmond Bane. This again proves that while Green’s best days may be behind him, he still can offer plenty of value through his shot and can make a significant contribution to a team advancing in the NBA Playoffs.

Of course, the other unfortunate but relevant development that occurred in last year’s NBA Playoffs for Green was the ACL injury that has prevented him from playing so far this season. Typically, it takes time for an NBA talent to work his way back to his previous level of play even after he returns to action from this injury. Especially with Green now being in his mid-30’s, the ability to work his way back to his pre-injury form will be a work in progress, and there is a chance that it may not occur this season. This clearly should be considered when projecting Green’s production in the days and weeks ahead.

However, while Green may not even return to last year’s form for the remainder of the 2022-2023 season, the role the Grizzlies need Green to fill should still allow for him to provide plenty of value. In the past, Green has also offered plenty of value as a defender, both through defensive playmaking and general defense. That part of Green’s game and adding offensive value outside of shooting may be most impacted by his injury.

Fortunately, defense is the strength of the Memphis roster. In the reserve role that Green will fill in time as the 9th or 10th man in the Memphis rotation, Green’s best value will be as a dependable shooter. And that value can help the Grizzlies in multiple ways. For one, the Grizzlies rank 24th in 3P% among NBA reserve units. Though Green split time last season between starting and coming off the bench, he shot 36% from three as a reserve. Secondly, Memphis is currently 26th in catch and shoot 3P% production among NBA Teams. Green has shot 41.7% in over 500 catch and shoot opportunities from three over the past two seasons. Though Green may struggle at times and only play 10 to 15 minutes a game, his shot will clearly add benefit to the Grizzlies rotation.

With the NBA trade deadline still being more than a week away, Green’s ultimate value for the Grizzlies may still be as part of a trade package if the right deal materializes. That especially could be true for a talent that can be controlled beyond this year. But this past offseason, the Grizzlies discussed two areas where they wanted to improve: shot quality and advancing in the playoffs. Currently, Memphis ranks 23rd in 3P%, 23rd in eFG%, 26th in TS%, and 26th in catch and shoot 3P% NBA teams. While there may be better overall talents available to pursue via trade, in terms of a singular talent that can provide production in the exact areas where the Grizzlies need it, it could be hard to find a more ideal fit than Green. This is especially true with how important shot quality is in the NBA Playoffs.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

And this highly dependable aspect of Danny Green’s game is why the Grizzlies have clear confidence in standing pat at the deadline. And Green’s dependablity also is clear of the court. Even being one of the most respected veterans in the league, Green has been present, even mentioning he would love to remain in Memphis beyond this season. That matters for a franchise that clearly values talent that adds to the Grizzlies culture.

And for that reason, plus the on-the-court ones listed above, the dependability of Danny Green may be the the best value the Grizzlies can add for their playoff push this season.

For more Grizzlies talk, subscribe to the Grizzly Bear Blues podcast network on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and IHeart. Follow Grizzly Bear Blues on Twitter and Instagram.

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