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  1. #1
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    Entering the Western Conference Finals, Danny Green appeared to be a player on the rise. However, as Green hit iron on three-pointer after three-pointer against the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was easy to grow frustrated. Pop certainly did, sending the 25-year-old from the starting lineup to the end of the bench. While it'd be unfair to suggest Green was the main reason why the Spurs lost against the Thunder, his errant accuracy was definitely one of the culprits.

    Despite the WCF disappointment, last week the Spurs decided to extend a qualifying offer to Green. That offer, worth a guaranteed $2,695,391, makes Green a restricted free agent. The Spurs are now able to match any contract Green accepts that starts at less than approximately $5,300,000 in the first season. The maximum contract the Spurs can give him is about $23,500,000 over four years. Conversely, if the Spurs donít negotiate further with Green and he fails to receive an outside offer, Green can simply play next season for $2,695,391 and then become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013.

    How much is Green worth to the Spurs? Itíd be a mistake to simply judge him on his ill-timed collapse. Letís rewind time a bit and look at the bigger picture.

    In the 47 games that preceded the Western Conference Finals (39 regular season games, eight playoff games), Green shot 47.8% from three-point territory -- knocking down a sizzling 88-of-184 attempts. While itís possible that Green ultimately faltered due to the pressure of deep postseason play, itís also quite possible that he suffered from regression to the mean. Green is a good shooter but heís not a 47.8% three-point shooter; he was long overdue for a slump. And even after his 4-for-23 shooting on threes against the Thunder, Green still ended up shooting 44.4% on three-pointers in his final 53 contests of the season -- a very, very healthy number.

    The statistics tell us, at some point in time, Green was going to experience a dry spell. If we chalk up his Western Conference Finals struggles to inevitable regression, the positives on the rest of Greenís resume are difficult to ignore.

    Letís stay on the offense side of the court. For the season, Green averaged 14.3 points per 36 minutes. That number alone suggests Green is much more than simply a spot-up shooter. Bruce Bowen, for example, never averaged more than 8.2 points per 36 minutes as a member of the Spurs. If you look at just the games following the Richard Jefferson trade, Green scoring soared to 17.4 points per 36 minutes. While that might not sound elite, the NBA is currently extraordinarily weak league-wide at the shooting guard position. Here are the only shooting guards in the NBA scored at least 17.4 points per 36 minutes this season (with a minimum of 500 minutes):

    Kobe Bryant - 26.1
    Dwyane Wade - 24.0
    Louis Williams - 20.5
    Monta Ellis - 20.1
    Manu Ginobili - 20.0
    Michael Redd - 19.5
    Kevin Martin - 19.4
    Jordan Crawford - 19.3
    James Harden - 19.3
    Marcus Thornton - 19.3
    Joe Johnson - 19.1
    Jamal Crawford - 18.7
    Klay Thompson - 18.5
    Leandro Barbosa - 18.4
    Gerald Green - 18.4
    Nick Young - 18.3

    Thatís a total of only 16 shooting guards in the NBA who scored at a better rate than Green scored after Jefferson was traded away. While Green isnít regarded by pundits or fans as anything more than a complementary piece on the offensive end of the court, he flashed a scoring ability last season that was among the best at his position.

    Though Green shows some offensive promise, defense is where he truly shines. He is the rare shooting guard who is capable of racking up blocked shot and steals. Just how rare is that? Last year, Green averaged 1.1 blocks and 1.4 steals per 36 minutes. The only other shooting guards in the last 20 seasons who have had a season that can match those numbers are Dwyane Wade (4 times), Eddie Jones (1 time) and Tony Allen (1 time). Greenís long, active arms and deceptive athleticism give him the ability to wreak havoc like few at his position in this generation.

    Green is also an elite rebounder for a shooting guard. He averaged 5.4 rebounds per 36 minutes with a rebounding rate of 8.6. The only shooting guards who had a better rebounding rate this season were Evan Turner (12.2), Paul George (10.6), Mike Miller (10.2), Tony Allen (8.9) and Dwyane Wade (8.7). If focusing on just defensive rebounding, Green leapfrogs over Allen and Wade.

    Speaking of defensive rebounding, his actual impact on the game was even better than those elite numbers suggest. When Green was on the court, the Spurs grabbed available defensive rebounds 78.1% of the time. That wasnít just the best mark on the team (Tim Duncan was second at 76.9%), it was the best mark in the entire NBA. That fact suggests not only does Green corral contested rebounds, he is also conscientious about keeping his man away from the offensive glass.

    Early last season, Green had some issues on the defensive end, specifically in regards to giving his man too much space to shoot and failing to maneuver around screens in a timely manner. But as the season progressed, Green continued to improve. Following the Jefferson trade, Green really shined. In the final 25 games of the regular season without Jefferson, opponents scored only 97.6 points per 100 possessions against the Spurs when Green was in the game -- the best mark on the team.

    In the playoffs, Green remained stout on the defensive end. Teams scored only 95.0 points per 100 possessions with Green on the court -- again the teamís best mark. As you can see in the Player Pairs from the playoffs, not only did Green make the starters better on defense, he also helped the bench players defend much better. Even if you look at just the games against the Thunder, Green was again the teamís best defender in terms of points allowed per 100 possessions.

    Strategically, Greenís value on defense is immense. His ability to defend point guards, even elite point guards, is extremely useful. Since Tony Parker can defend many shooting guards, the versatility of that backcourt allows for the coaching staff to mix and match on the fly. Green is also quick enough to pressure the basketball and strong enough to survive on the low block.

    Considering that Green was on the scrapheap not too long ago, itís not surprising that he has some flaws to his game. Offensively, heís just not a very smooth player. I wouldnít classify him as robotic but he certainly isnít a graceful athlete by NBA standards. When he drives with the basketball, if heís forced to do anything but a layup or a dunk, itís usually an adventure Ė and an unsightly one at that. While heís a willing passer who is usually accurate with his dishes, he has below average court vision for a guard. Ballhandling isnít a strength. While he can play point guard in a pinch, heís turnover-prone when heís dribbling in a crowd and his decision-making off the dribble leaves much to be desired.

    On defense, screens still perplex Green at times. Heís gotten better about understanding the amount of appropriate space to give his opponent but he still makes mistakes every now and then. He also has a bad habit of synching his defensive energy to how well heís playing overall. As he grows as a player, he has to learn to play at the same energy level no matter whatís happening with him or anyone else.

    As an overall athlete, heís good but not great, which limits his ceiling on both ends of the court. And while thereís no way heís a only a one or two dimensional player, heís always going to be a niche player whose job is to bring aggression and to fill a specific role next to star players. Even though heís just 25, heís not someone who is going to turn into a star or become able to single-handedly carry a team.

    Weíve looked at Greenís strengths and weaknesses but the question still remains: How much is Green worth to the Spurs? To set the market, letís look at similar free agents from last season. Here is Greenís 2012 season compared to the 2011 seasons of seven shooting guards who signed free agent deals last summer. I included their age at the time they signed their contract, the average annual value (AAV) of their contract and the contractís length (CL).



    Looking at the comparables, Green stacks up rather well. Heís easily the best rebounder of the bunch and his three-point shooting percentage is also tops. His scoring is on the lower side but itís quite a bit higher than Arron Afflaloís rate and Afflalo is the only player listed who is regarded as a quality defender. If Green isnít the best defender on the list, heís second.

    Numbers-wise, you can see evidence of Greenís weaknesses. His lack of ballhandling and playmaking result in too many turnovers and too few assists. The only other thing that can hold down Greenís value is his relatively small sample size. Green had a great season, compared to expecatations, but he came out of nowhere. Nothing in his history suggested he could shoot the way he shot or have the overall impact he had on a championship contending team. Combined, Green neither having star potential nor tons of data promising a steady level of play going forward may scare off potential suitors.

    As a Spurs fan, Iíd obviously prefer for Green to re-sign for a deal that calls for him to make around $3 million annually. However, after digging further into his numbers and viewing the comparables, if a team comes in offering $4 million annually, Iím confident in saying thatís a salary the Spurs should match. Thereís just no way the Spurs could turn that down when a very comparable player like Afflalo makes more than double that amount.

    At what amount should the Spurs let Green go? Thatís difficult to answer. Itíd be easy if he was a one-dimensional gunner who would lose all value if his shot disappeared (say like Matt Bonner or even Gary Neal) but the numbers tell us Green is much more than that. On a per possession basis, he was the teamís best defender after Jefferson left -- whether youíre looking at the regular season, the playoffs or just the Thunder series. He was the most impactful player in the entire NBA in terms of defensive rebounding. He has the uncommon ability to get steals and block shots at the shooting guard position. His defensive versatility is advantageous. Offensively, heís a three-point shooter with a quick release who seems to have more room to mature on that end. In a global sense, heís a team-first type of guy who works hard, blends in and doesnít command a lot of touches.

    Sure, thereís risk that his 43.6% three-point shooting this season was a fluke. But he does so many things well that I believe heís a low-risk investment. Even if his three-point shooting regresses all the way to around 36%, heís still a shooting guard who can rebound, block shots, get steals and defend. While the NBA as a whole usually monetarily rewards shooting guards who score the ball -- even if itís inefficiently -- I would argue that Green does a lot more that helps a team win than someone like a Monta Ellis (sorry cousin) who will shoot a lot and do little else. Rewarding Green for doing a lot of little things well requires some outside-the-box thinking but I believe that it would be justified.

    Honestly, when I began this exercise, I was hesitant for the Spurs to give Green much more than $3 million per season. Now, Iíve already talked myself into $4 million. Depending on how the market shakes out for other shooting guards this summer, I might go even higher. At the end of the day, Green brings too much to the table to lose for nothing -- especially since the Spurs have very little long-term money on the books. The numbers say San Antonio would become a much worse team without Green and I agree that itíd be a giant leap backwards. We all might have a bad lasting memory of his 2012 season but if the Spurs have any hope of becoming a legit contender in 2013, Greenís special talents are needed.

  2. #2
    Bend the knee Spurs da champs's Avatar
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    You rely way too much on this "what if" per stat for the basis of your arguments.
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  3. #3
    Believe.
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    Green didn't get enough easy baskets against the Thunder. It would have really helped his confidence and shooting. I seem to remember him being able to get some easy baskets in the earlier rounds. That's where the Spurs really miss a guy like TJ Ford that can help a guy who's struggling to get some easy baskets.

  4. #4
    Kiwi, Advanced Stat Fan
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    We need to keep Green to have any realistic shot at winning. We need a minutes sponge at SG to use the minutes Manu can't play, and Green is a very good one. Additionally, we don't have many options. MLE and LLE are/should be used to get Diaw/Lorbek(and maybe de Colo?) which doesn't leave a ton of chances to upgrade, unless some team really wants Bonner/Neal/Blair and offers a really good SG for them(This is not happening)

    I think his contribution to winning is more than his salary will be, And I'm hoping his limited minutes limits his price.

  5. #5
    Believe.
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    Match whatever the offer he got and trade him before 2013 draft if needed.
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  6. #6
    Believe.
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    Now I want to know what kind of offer Duncan would get and then try to guess others.

  7. #7
    Pop Sucks Russo21's Avatar
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    Damn you must have a lot of time on your hands timvp.

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  9. #9
    Spur-taaaa TDMVPDPOY's Avatar
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    i think ferry is going to throw an offer at him to get him to the hawks...ST for horford...

  10. #10
    MVParker racm's Avatar
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    And to think he was a mid second rounder?

    He's not elite, but he's GOOD.

  11. #11
    Grind Hard G-Dawgg's Avatar
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    .....blah blah blah.......you wanna get rid of Bonner, yet Green is the second coming the Red Houdini. He plain and simply pulled a Roger Mason when we needed him. He failed.
    I feel like he's cut from the same choker mold as Bonner.

    Sorry I'm still pretty bitter and couldn't care less if he walked.
    You can talk about his stats and how good he plays, but if he shits the bed when we need him and we can't rely on him to put up those numbers when when it matters, then what good is he to us in the end?

    Fuck than Danny Green bitch....
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  12. #12
    I will not be mishandled MI21's Avatar
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    Nice work, timvp.

    I became a very, very big fan of Danny as the season progressed but there is absolutely no doubting that he sucked hard during the WCF. That said, I'm willing to give him one more chance.

    Remember, in 2004, Hedo Turkoglu completely choked against the Lakers. Every Spur fan couldn't wait to get him off the team.

    But what happened? Hedo turned into one of the best clutch shot makers in the NBA. In 2009 he was basically the 4th quarter machine that guided the Magic to the finals.

    Players can change and players can learn to deal with playoff pressure with time. I'm not talking Matt Bonner time here, but Danny deserves another go. If he fails again, by all means, let him walk.

  13. #13
    Mr. Dignity Solid D's Avatar
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    Damn you must have a lot of time on your hands timvp.
    LJ leaves a piece of journalism made of pure gold on your doorstep for you to read and that is all you have to say?

  14. #14
    MVParker racm's Avatar
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    Nice work, timvp.

    I became a very, very big fan of Danny as the season progressed but there is absolutely no doubting that he sucked hard during the WCF. That said, I'm willing to give him one more chance.

    Remember, in 2004, Hedo Turkoglu completely choked against the Lakers. Every Spur fan couldn't wait to get him off the team.

    But what happened? Hedo turned into one of the best clutch shot makers in the NBA. In 2009 he was basically the 4th quarter machine that guided the Magic to the finals.

    Players can change and players can learn to deal with playoff pressure with time. I'm not talking Matt Bonner time here, but Danny deserves another go. If he fails again, by all means, let him walk.
    He was one of the guys on the UNC championship team. I'd say he's got clutch moments, but as a streaky shooter you never know.

    He also led a near-comeback against Dallas that was the start of a tear the Spurs went on. After that Dallas game the Spurs were 12-9 - but finished 38-7.

  15. #15
    Fan Since 1973 Twisted_Dawg's Avatar
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    While I was infuriated with Green's complete choke job against the Thunder, which was one of the factors that lead to our defeat, this reminds me of Hedo Turkolu who choked in a playoff series for us and we got rid of him. He later developed into a solid player.

    Understanding Green is a young player, do we want duplicate the Hedo experience? Particularly when are options are very limited? I think not, I just hope we don't overpay this guy, because the jury is still out on him.

    Edit: Sorry MI21, I didn't read your post until I posted, but great minds do think alike.

  16. #16
    Veteran Wild Cobra Kai's Avatar
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    While I was infuriated with Green's complete choke job against the Thunder, which was one of the factors that lead to our defeat, this reminds me of Hedo Turkolu who choked in a playoff series for us and we got rid of him. He later developed into a solid player.
    ...who then went on to choke against the very same Lakers in the Finals a few years later with Orlando.

    The reason you REALLY don't want to overpay him is that he was absolute shit when the Big Three sat out last year, and realistically, that will be the state of the team NLT 2 years from now, when the expensive part of his contract would kick in. He's a "system guy". Hopefully, other teams have that figured out.
    Last edited by Wild Cobra Kai; 07-03-2012 at 07:35 AM.
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  17. #17
    Veteran Mel_13's Avatar
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    While I was infuriated with Green's complete choke job against the Thunder, which was one of the factors that lead to our defeat, this reminds me of Hedo Turkolu who choked in a playoff series for us and we got rid of him. He later developed into a solid player.

    Understanding Green is a young player, do we want duplicate the Hedo experience? Particularly when are options are very limited? I think not, I just hope we don't overpay this guy, because the jury is still out on him.

    Edit: Sorry MI21, I didn't read your post until I posted, but great minds do think alike.

    Hedo left to take a 6yr/38M deal from Orlando. If some team wants to overpay Danny Green in a similar fashion, then we'll watch Green leave as well.

    Btw, in that same summer, the Spurs signed Manu to a new 6yr/55M contract and Tony to a 6yr/66M extension.

  18. #18
    Enemy of the FCC and AMA Dr. John R. Brinkley's Avatar
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    He was one of the guys on the UNC championship team. I'd say he's got clutch moments, but as a streaky shooter you never know.

    He also led a near-comeback against Dallas that was the start of a tear the Spurs went on. After that Dallas game the Spurs were 12-9 - but finished 38-7.
    Good point. It's almost like Green started the incredible run the Spurs went on in that Dallas game...and then ended it when his 3 point shooting fell off a cliff in the WCF.

  19. #19
    Believe.
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    While itís possible that Green ultimately faltered due to the pressure of deep postseason play, itís also quite possible that he suffered from regression to the mean.
    No, the team suffered "regression to the mean." I was universally criticized for almost hoping (for mathematical reasons) the Spurs would lose a game or two in the earlier rounds of the playoffs. I feared that if they lost a game and didn't immediately bounce back with a win in the following game, it would all avalanche into another embarrassing 4-game skid to end the season, ala 2004. Boy, do I hate being right all the time (... ok, most of the time ).

    Danny Green, on the other hand, did not suffer regression of anything. The man straight up choked, and it was nauseating to watch. He's a choking cancer of a player, just like Matt Bonner, so I HOPE he gets a better offer elsewhere.

    In general, I'm all for second chances, but in this case, given the circumstances, I say fuck Danny Green. Let's burn that bridge and move on.
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  20. #20
    I'm your huckleberry K-State Spur's Avatar
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    The player that I would trade Green for that is plausible for the Spurs as well is OJ Mayo. The guy is a better defender from my observation
    under no scenario is that true.

  21. #21
    I'm your huckleberry K-State Spur's Avatar
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    LJ, after reading all that, now you have me scared that somebody is going to offer him a wesley matthews type deal...

  22. #22
    Believe. 8FOR!3's Avatar
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    He was one of the guys on the UNC championship team. I'd say he's got clutch moments, but as a streaky shooter you never know.

    He also led a near-comeback against Dallas that was the start of a tear the Spurs went on. After that Dallas game the Spurs were 12-9 - but finished 38-7.
    Yeah it's hard to call a guy who was one of the leaders on a national championship team a choker regardless of what he does. Anybody who watched Green's contributions to the team last year should understand he deserves another contract offer in San Antonio. If his value is too high and we can't afford him, that's another thing.
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  23. #23
    I'm your huckleberry K-State Spur's Avatar
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    Danny Green, on the other hand, did not suffer regression of anything. The man straight up choked, and it was nauseating to watch. He's a choking cancer of a player, just like Matt Bonner, so I HOPE he gets a better offer elsewhere.
    He played an outstanding series in the first round (which Bonner has never done), played an even better second round series (which Bonner has never done), and then played poorly in 3 of the first 4 games against OKC - and was banished to the bench for the rest of the series.

    So he choked for 3 of 12 playoff games. ...in his first legit postseason.

    Newsflash: Young guys typically struggle in the playoffs. That's why contenders typically fill their role slots with veterans. Most guys aren't Robert Horry clutch straight out of the shoot (and even Horry had some shitty playoff series).

  24. #24
    Believe. dylankerouac's Avatar
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    Thanks for putting this together. I continue to hope the team resigns Green.

  25. #25
    MVParker racm's Avatar
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    Yeah it's hard to call a guy who was one of the leaders on a national championship team a choker regardless of what he does. Anybody who watched Green's contributions to the team last year should understand he deserves another contract offer in San Antonio. If his value is too high and we can't afford him, that's another thing.
    Looking back I still wonder why Indiana picked Psycho T ahead of Ty Lawson and Green... but then it's the Pacers and their fetish for white bigs.

    He played an outstanding series in the first round (which Bonner has never done), played an even better second round series (which Bonner has never done), and then played poorly in 3 of the first 4 games against OKC - and was banished to the bench for the rest of the series.

    So he choked for 3 of 12 playoff games. ...in his first legit postseason.

    Newsflash: Young guys typically struggle in the playoffs. That's why contenders typically fill their role slots with veterans. Most guys aren't Robert Horry clutch straight out of the shoot (and even Horry had some shitty playoff series).
    Yeah, if you think about the current Spurs they're the inverse of the championship teams. Instead of surrounding the young core with older role players/ring chasers, the veteran big 3 are surrounded by young role players.

    A team like that doesn't get to the conference finals most of the time, so what the Spurs did this season was 2003-04 level of overachieving near the tail end of the season. Problem is, Tim can't carry the team like he used to, so it's up to Tony and to a slightly lesser extent Manu.

  26. #26
    "The ball don't lie." dbestpro's Avatar
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    However, as Green hit iron on three-pointer after three-pointer against the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was easy to grow frustrated.
    Sounds like an article that would have been written for Bonner or RMJ after their first playoff collapse.
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  27. #27
    Believe.
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    people forget about all the big shots he hit during the reg season and in the playoffs
    he won an okc game by stealing an inbound pass during the reg season
    him and leonard were torching utah and were the guys doing the scoring during those 20-0 type runs
    during the clippers he was guarding chris paul during the end games
    he was also draining 3s with griffin in his face in close games in the 4th quarter

    chokers dont make plays like this




    during that same game in ot they inbounded the ball to the king with close to 10 seconds left
    who promptly decided to urinate himself and let vince carter steal the ball

  28. #28
    Veteran Mel_13's Avatar
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    Sounds like an article that would have been written for Bonner or RMJ after their first playoff collapse.
    Not really.

  29. #29
    Veteran BG_Spurs_Fan's Avatar
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    Unless there is a minimum/BAE type of player who'd be better than Danny Green, which imo is not the case, then losing him would weaken the team as there's no money for a replacement. Hopefully no dumbass GM grossly overpays him.

  30. #30
    Believe.
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    Green was on a torrid 3 PT shooting stretch as the Spurs rolled through the first two round of the playoffs. The issue was that round by round the perimeter defense gets tighter. By the time we played OKC, he had to have an extremely quick trigger to get the shot off. He forced a few, missed a few open ones, and Pop panicked. Instead of staying the course, he went heavy with Gary Neal, which didn't work any better.

    Same issue was evident with Bonner. Once the wide open 3s dried up, he didn't know what to do. With his short arms and low release, he just can't get a good shot off under any kind of pressure.

    Contrast that with S Jax, who has a high overhead release. No problem getting the shot off, and we know what he does to pressure...

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