Danny Green relishes stint with successful Spurs
San Antonio Spurs' Danny Green (NBA Philippines/Jonathan Asuncion)
There are images, videos to be more precise, of Danny dancing to the House of Pain's classic "Jump Around" before matches when he was with the University of North Carolina -- skinny as he was back then -- and with the San Antonio Spurs.
There are highlights, Vines, of Green drilling one jumper after another en route to helping the San Antonio Spurs to the 2014 NBA title.
And there's wonder and amazement -- in a proud manner -- of how Danny Green took less money to stay with the San Antonio Spurs instead of going to another team that would have not only paid him more but also given him more playing time.
Last Thursday, it was a gregarious and engaging Green, now older and rounding out into prime form -- now also both US NCAA and NBA champion -- who met with the media at the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City. The San Antonio Spur is in Manila for the NBA 3X Philippines.
Green stated first his disbelief as being one of three Tar Heels to have won NCAA and NBA crowns (the other two have surnames that go by Worthy and Jordan): "It's very humbling to be on that list and the two others guys on that list are really great players. For someone like me to be there is kind of surreal. It feels like I don't belong. But it is an honor and hopefully, I can do some more things so I can really belong."
While Green is generations apart from that sainted Tar Heel duo of James Worthy and Michael Jordan who were teammates on the 1982 US National Champions, he is currently playing with some teammates who will have their own wing at the Naismith Memorial one day.
"It's amazing," gushed Green about playing alongside the San Antonio Spurs' Big Three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. "It's great. I've learned so much from them. It's amazing to share a locker room with them. Hopefully, one day, I can achieve half of what they've achieved and I'll be a pretty decent player. But to be a part of that and have that special bond with those guys who are my teammates and brothers is something I've dreamed about as a kid."
Clearly, the San Antonio brass believes that Green can not only contribute to another title run but can also be a prime player for them.
"I was comfortable," explained the six-year pro about his decision to re-sign with San Antonio instead of testing the waters of free agency. "I thought we had a pretty good chance of doing something special again in the future. Pop (head coach Gregg Popovich) did a great job of communicating the process and keeping me updated on what's going on and that we had a good shot at landing LaMarcus (Aldridge) and we did. And it made my decision look a lot smarter. So, yes, it is home for me, and it is an easy decision. They gave me an opportunity. It is hard for me to leave."
"I know the grass is green where I am at. I don't know how green it is in the other side but it is pretty green where I'm at."
Yet even if the Spurs are literally loaded for another huge run at the Larry O'Brien trophy, Green recognizes that the Golden State Warriors, the reigning NBA champions, will be hard to topple. The six-foot-six forward agrees that the style espoused by the Warriors is where the game is headed.
"Early on, it was post up and give the ball on the side. Now it is more perimeter-oriented shooting threes. The team that gets the most uncontested looks from outside stands a better chance of winning the game. Golden State winning the championship emphasised that more. You know they're a very perimeter-oriented team. Even going small ball with their bigs. (There's) Draymond Green playing the four yet he shoots threes. A lot of teams are moving in that direction with the faster pace," he said.
Even with the success of Golden State, Green believes that the Spurs remain contenders. "I like to think so. I know how they are building our team. Even if Pop doesn't stick around as head coach, he'll be around the game for a bit and continue to do a good job of bringing in talent and new blood that will make us contenders. I would like at some point to be a focal point if that happens in the future. It would be great to keep Timmy, Manu and Tony around as long as we can. I think we can still be contenders."
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