When it comes to playing good defense, Danny Green says it's being a good guesser
San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green sat down with Sports Illustrated recently for a Q&A period with some of the discussion points being the season, his career, and playing for Coach Popovich.
The biggest story this season has been the absence of Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs have fought hard to maintain their spot in the Western Conference, but there still was an adjustment period.
Most of the season we’ve grown accustomed to it. It’s nothing new to us,” Green said. “We could definitely use this guy, but we’ve had to get that out of our heads and learn to play without him. I’m sure it’s more frustrating for him than anybody. To not be able to be on the floor and compete the way he wants. We’re just wishing him the best and hoping for good health and that he comes back faster than normal.
The two went on to discuss Green’s reputation as one of the toughest transition defenders in the NBA. He was named to the 2017 NBA All Defensive Second Team and is one of the best shot-blocking guards in the league.
So how much skill is involved in being one of the better defenders in the NBA? Just one - guessing.
“I’m not a gambling man but I’m a pretty good guesser. I get lucky. I guess sometimes, it works out for me but I think I’m just a better guesser than other people,” he said. “It’s tough. It’s hard to stop a two-on-one or three-on-one. You have to anticipate and try to make somebody do something different. Or make them think you’re going to do something different. But I think I’m just a really good guesser.”
Green goes on to describe his NBA career as a “rollercoaster.”
Coming out of the University of North Carolina, he had won a championship and was poised to be a contributor for a team. However, it did not happen that way. In fact, his rookie year he played very little, and eventually got cut from the team. From there he joined the D-League for a couple months, and signed with a new team. Unfortunately, the lockout happened and he was left not playing once again. He then went overseas for a couple months, and ended up finding his way back on an NBA roster.
“It’s been really up and down, but getting an opportunity to play has been a blessing. It really is a rollercoaster ride,” he said. “I think the biggest thing for everybody in this league is the respect of their peers.
Green also stated that coach Popovich is extremely intense on the court, but cares about the team like his family off it.
He has come a very long way since his rookie season, and has become one of the most important pieces on the Spurs’ roster. His shooting and defense have consistently played a significant role in the team’s success.