How Danny Green Can Become More Than a Specialist for San Antonio Spurs

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2013

Few will question Danny Green's ability to drill the trifecta, but is Green more than a long-distance shooter?
Few will question Danny Green's ability to drill the trifecta, but is Green more than a long-distance shooter?Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Danny Green is one of the NBA's best three-point specialists, and the San Antonio Spurs have the luxury of utilizing the guard's deadeye shooting.

But how can the sharpshooter become more than just that?

Green has shown potential to be among the NBA's best in another area, but other facets of his game need to be addressed for Green to shed the "specialist" label.

The University of North Carolina product won't be able to miraculously change these shortcomings overnight, but Green must use the 2013-14 campaign to make progress towards becoming a more complete player.


Dribbling Ability Must Improve

Will it be this season? Probably not. But it is imperative that Green improves his ball-handling skills soon.

Green certainly was a lights-out shooter throughout most of last season's finals, but a weakness of his—dribbling the ball—was exposed. After receiving the rock, Green would be immediately double-teamed, and he simply appeared timid and indecisive.

Reuters Photo via
Reuters Photo via

Once Green can dribble confidently in the face of pressure, opponents must respect his ability to get into the lane—or at least not be trapped so easily.

He doesn't have to become like Tony Parker and be able to maneuver around and manipulate defenders off the bounce, but Green being able to dribble out of traffic would help San Antonio's overall offensive attack.


Develop Another Go-To Shot

It's a well-known fact; Green gets buckets from behind the arc.

But how else does the sharpshooter manage to send the ball through the hoop?

During the 2013 NBA Finals, Green decided his shot chart should make absolutely no sense. He nailed 27 of his 49 three-point attempts (55.1 percent), yet Green connected on just 5-of-23 shots (21.7 percent) from inside the arc, including an abysmal 5-of-19 from 10 feet or closer.

Danny Green NBA Finals shot chart via Basketball Reference
Danny Green NBA Finals shot chart via Basketball Reference

Overall, Green hit 55-of-114 three-pointers (48.2 percent) and just 28-of-72 two-pointers (38.9 percent) in the 2013 playoffs. These shooting numbers may improve significantly were Green to acquire the ball-handling skills necessary to create shots for himself.

Yes, Green excels at getting open shots by moving without the ball, and he must continue finding spaces on the floor, but the stats tilted far too much in one direction. According to Basketball Reference, Green was assisted on 81.2 percent of his field goals during the finals.

And that percentage reeks of "specialist."


Continue Progressing as a Defender

Whether it was on-ball, off-ball or transition defense, Green emerged as one of the Spurs' top defenders last season. San Antonio's main lockdown man may be Kawhi Leonard, but the Leonard-Green combination is essential to the Spurs success on that end of the floor.

Green typically guards one of the opposition's top scorers, as he does here in showcasing his stout defense against the Brooklyn Nets' Joe Johnson, but he can also stick with the opposing team's point guards from time to time. Green does not overcommit or bite on head fakes, which allows him to stay between the ball-handler and the basket.

Throughout the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals, San Antonio battled the Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors. While being guarded by Green, Curry struggled to gain separation and make shots, especially in the first three games of the series.

Additionally, while pressuring Curry into contested outside shots, Green also denied the Warriors' biggest offensive threat when he drove to the basket.

Most impressively, however, Green's transition defense is fantastic. He was able to recover and block LeBron James on a transition-layup attempt during the 2013 Finals.

For Green to sprint back, get in proper defensive position, locate the position of the ball in LeBron's hands and block a shot by the league's best player certainly is impressive.

Green's second-best attribute is definitely his defense, and he must continue evolving into a second shutdown guard for the Spurs.