Philadelphia 76ers: Danny Green’s leadership is beyond underrated

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Danny Green brings more to the Philadelphia 76ers than 3s and defense.

When the San Antonio Spurs traded Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, it was not a one-for-one swap.

Now granted, very rarely are legitimate top-10 players traded one-for-one for one another in any sport, especially the NBA, but this move was particularly noteworthy because the Raptors clearly won the deal by any projectable margin.

For the price of DeRozen, second-year center Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick – which was eventually used to select Kentucky wing Keldon Johnson 29th overall- the Toronto Raptors were able to secure Leonard and Danny Green, his long-time wingman with the Spurs.

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Now granted, did both Leonard and Green walk in free agency at the end of the season? Yup, but when they leave behind a championship trophy on their way out the door, that’s not all that big of a deal.

Suddenly thrust into a leadership role alongside Kyle Lowry on a team that just gave away one of their franchise’s true homegrown stars, Green helped turn a motley crew of G-League All-Stars and second-round picks to a championship contender, all under the watchful eye of a first-year head coach. He appeared in 80 games with a career-high 80-starts and finished out the season fourth on the team in points and second in the league in 3 point shooting percentage (45.5 percent).

And let’s just say you don’t get the nickname ‘The Ultimate Teammate‘ without being a pretty good guy to pal around with both on and off the court.

From there, Green signed a two-year, $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers to fill a similar ‘sidekick to the stars‘-role next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Though Green wasn’t tasked with running a leadership role in LA per se, he did serve as a valuable reference for everyone’s favorite bald-eagle looking guard Alex Caruso. He also played a valuable role as an every game starter for the Lakers and played a massive role in the team’s success in the double – excluding, of course, that one ugly airball in the finals.

So naturally, when the Philadelphia 76ers were able to somehow secure Green’s services in a move that also rid themselves of Al Horford, it was almost too good to be believed, right? I mean, think about it, a player like Robert Covington was also traded for two first-round picks in 2020, and the Sixers landed one year of Green, Terrance Ferguson, a sizeable trade exception, and $80-plus million in cap space for the price of a protected 2025 first-round pick.

Seriously, how is that even possible?

In a weird way, Green is a lot like 2020’s version of J.J. Redick, in that he’s a legitimate lights out 3 point shooter, a podcaster, and could provide valuable insight to the Sixers’ young core of players; though, unlike Redick, Green actually plays defense and can lock up opposing players 1-3. Green’s played for some of the best coaches in the business, has played off some of the best stars in the business, and even gone into business himself as an in-demand Cameo artist who can send you a personalized message for $125 a pop.

Even if Green’s career begins to decline as he enters his mid-30s, the player affectionately known as ‘The Green Ranger’ should stay gainfully employed for the foreseeable future if for no other reason than to serve as a valuable veteran presence and 3 point shot off the bench like Kyle Korver before him.

But hey, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. While Green’s addition should surely help the Sixers’ sus locker room culture under new head coach Doc Rivers, he – and fellow 30-year-old guard Seth Curry – are here to help the team win now and capitalize on their young superstar duo’s prime.

In that regard, Green couldn’t be a better fit.

Presumably tasked with playing small forward for the first time in his career – though he’ll most likely be tasked with guarding shooting guards on the defensive end of the court due to Ben Simmons‘ size – Green will be relied upon to get in the right spot, remain in motion, and even run around the court a la Redick to give paint scorers like Simmons and Joel Embiid a viable outlet pass if under the basket gets a bit too congested.

Green did knock down 101 catch-and-shoot 3s during the 2019-20 regular season – three more than Seth Curry – so he remains one of the better players in the league to fill that very specific role.

dark. Next. Christmas is going to be awkward for Doc and Austin Rivers

After watching the Philadelphia 76ers suffer along like a rudderless ship with only two players over the age of 30 – neither of whom are particularly well known for their leadership-abilities – Daryl Morey‘s decision to acquire a veteran guard with two championships under his belt is the kind of move championship-caliber teams pull off. Even at the tender age of 33, Danny Green is a reliable 3 point shooter, a solid cross-positional defender, and the kind of player a team with playoff aspirations would love to have on their opening day roster. And hey, he’s won two championships in a row; why not make it a three-peat and bring the City of Brotherly Love back its first championship since 2018? Yeah, I went there.