Danny Green has been the Spurs brightest star in the NBA Finals. After averaging 10 points per game in the regular season, Green has shot 16-23 from three and averaged 18.7 points per game.
Not bad for a guy who begged to stay on the team three years ago.
In an article heralding Green and teammate Gary Neal for stealing the spotlight from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Tony Parker, ESPN’s J.A. Adande notes that Green was cut twice by the Spurs before sticking on. After his second cut Green called Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and left a voicemail.
“I’ll do whatever you need me to do,” Green said. “Rebound, defence, towel boy, water boy … whatever you need me to do, I’m going to do that.”
The message left an impression on Popovich, who brought Green back for the 2010-2011 season. Green only played eight games that year, but cracked the starting rotation the following season and started every game this year.
With the Spurs Big Three all shooting well below their regular season averages in the Finals, Green has led the team in scoring through the first three games. The Heat defensive focus of slowing Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Parker has been effective, but Miami did not figure Green would shoot the lights out.
Green’s impact is a great example of the importance of role players, even in the era of “super teams.” The ultimate “super team”, the Heat, won last year’s Finals in large part because of the knockdown three-point shooting of their surrounding cast: Shane Battier’s five threes made the difference in last year’s Game 2 and Mike Miller’s seven threes buried the the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5.
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