Sixers

Specific ways Green should help Sixers, plus potential concerns

Sixers

Danny Green is best known for his 3-and-D skill set (and his three NBA titles), so it makes perfect sense for an overview of his game to explore both of those areas.

We’ll start with Green’s jumper and the fact that he’s made 40 percent of his career long-distance attempts. Beyond that impressive efficiency over 11 NBA seasons, it should appeal to the Sixers specifically that most of Green’s scoring comes from firing threes. 

The downside of that is he’s never been great at creating separation off the dribble or driving to the rim, and the 2020-21 Sixers’ collective shot creation ability appears questionable. The significant upside, though, is that a team which finished 22nd in three-point attempts last season is adding a player who has always gotten shots up from long range. 

Green’s three-point frequency

  • 2016-17: 67%
  • 2017-18: 55%
  • 2018-19: 68%
  • 2019-20: 68%

*Per Cleaning the Glass 

Green didn’t have a strong shooting year with the Lakers, making 36.7 percent of his threes in the regular season, 33.9 percent in the playoffs. He hasn’t shot over 34.2 percent from three-point range in a postseason since 2016, though Green has of course nailed big jumpers before and would’ve had a legitimate Finals MVP case in 2013 if the Spurs had finished off the Heat. 

Year-over-year variance is inevitable with low-usage players like Green. After making 51.8 percent of his wide-open threes during the 2018-19 season, he dropped to 35.8 percent on those attempts last year. The modest sample sizes and past fluctuations make it hard to predict what’s next — and that's a valid concern —  but Green's decade-plus track record suggests it’s highly unlikely he’ll shoot much worse than he did in Los Angeles. Then again, it's not unprecedented for a player's game to start sliding downward at around 33 years old, Green's age entering this campaign. 

 

Defensively, Green has had above-average block and steal rates for a wing every full season of his NBA career, according to Cleaning the Glass. His 2.1 steal percentage in 2019-20 was a career high, although a note about season-over-season oscillations is again necessary here. 

Still, Green has consistently been good at forcing turnovers. Neither his athleticism nor his strength stand out, but he remains an intelligent defender who anticipates actions well and can ignite fast breaks. The Sixers will hope that helps their pace-boosting mission this season. 

Green should be the second-best perimeter defender in the Sixers’ starting lineup after Ben Simmons. He’ll mainly guard wings, although perhaps head coach Doc Rivers will occasionally ask him to take a power forward who’d present a tough matchup for Tobias Harris.

It will take time before we see Green’s intangible impacts, but he considers veteran leadership a massive part of his job description.

“My job, I think, is more important off the floor than it is on the floor for this group,” he said Wednesday. “Just helping them understand the small details of what it takes to win, to be winners.”

A D-League stint with the stacked 2010-11 Reno Bighorns likely is the last time Green was a star in any way. His 3-and-D play has often complemented top talent effectively, though, and Green finds himself next to two All-Stars yet again in Simmons and Joel Embiid. 

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