Danny Green led all NBA guards in blocks per game in 2013-14 with nearly one. In fact, his .9 per game was second to just Tim Duncan on the Spurs. He also tallied a steal per and cut down on his mental mistakes. He'll still make the occasional bad outlet pass, but he's getting better at not overcommitting to help and leaving his man open.
Peter Sherman wrote a piece back in March about Danny becoming a premier defender. I'd have to agree. Pop's goat last season put his head down and focused on all of the little things. I really don't think there is a guy who is prouder to be a member of the squad. From begging for a spot to starting for a champ, he's come a long way. I can't find it, but I think there was a quote from Danny about wanting to be a Spur for life. This being a contract year, I guess we'll see in nine months. I don't think the Spurs will short him, but another team might offer more. It will be interesting, at least, for a team that doesn't really do interesting offseason stuff.
I'd encourage you to read Michael Erler's Portrait of Danny Green if you missed it.
Dwyane Wade has Danny isolated and uses a crossover to turn Danny the wrong way for a second, but Green recovers and slides his feet to get back into position as Wade tries to post him up. Green doesn't give much as Wade puts his back to the basket and Green puts up a nice contest to Wade's turnaround attempt.
Here the Thunder want to work through Kevin Durant by getting him the ball at the elbow off an Ibaka screen. Danny's pursuit of KD under the screen results in him arriving inside of Durant's jersey as he gets the ball from Westbrook. Green's physical play seemed to bother KD at times during the latter part of the Western Conference Finals and this is a pretty good example. After Durant turns to find Danny in his grill he takes a step back to gather himself and Green follows his lead and steps into Kevin, gets a hand into his passing lane back to Westbrook, and then puts up a great contest to Durant's turnaround 17-footer.
Shane Larkin wants to test his luck against Green and after Danny puts a stop to his first attempt he quickly attacks down the left side of the lane and gets a half-step on the Tar Heel, but he's not exactly Tony Parker and Danny uses his length and timing to erase the layup attempt.
James Johnson shows good patience in waiting for the helping Manu Ginobili to go flying by him before putting up his attempt after he faked Green into the air, but Green uses that length again to bring an end to this Grizzlies possession.
Chandler Parsons decided to try Danny one-on-one, but the 46 million-dollar man found nothing at the end of his drive as Danny stuck to him from the arc to the paint and forced him to take a ridiculous shot that didn't even catch iron.
If all Danny had done on this play was force his cousin Gerald Green to go left it would have been a success with Tim Duncan coming from the weakside to help, but Danny, even a step behind, stayed in decent position - arm out to swat away any attempt at a pocket pass - and anticipated the attempt perfectly as he stuffed it and then gathered the ball for the good guys.
Danny's contest is a little late here, but Marcus Morris had to take a tough shot as Danny kept his body in front of Morris. The 6' 9" Morris would probably have liked to get closer to the hoop, but Danny kept his body close and Morris took an overconfident mid-range jumper. Perhaps the height advantage boosted Marcus' confidence. The end result was an attempt from Morris that was just about horrible, not all too surprising from a guy who only took 7.7% of his shots from 3-10 feet and hit 37% of them. Maybe we should call it the Matt Bonner effect, meaning that when an offensive player believes he has an advantage he will look to score from outside of his comfort zone. With Matt, it's the big guy who sees the redhead and thinks he's now a great post player only to be shocked by Matt's fundamentally sound post D - he is a big, smart guy. Here, it's the temptation of scoring in the short midrange against a guy who's three inches shorter despite it being where Morris is at his worst.
Stay tuned for the next installment and here are links to the previous entries if you missed them the first time around.