Spurs sharp-shooter Danny Green is from Long Island, so in the offseason it’s not odd to see him at various places around New York city, signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. Green made an appearance on Wednesday at Manhattan’s NBA 5th Avenue Store, which also hosted former G-League players Chasson Randle and Joe Harris on Monday.
According to statistics being spouted from the store’s surround sound PA system, 44 % of NBA players have D-League/G-League experience and 100 of the players in last season’s NBA playoffs got that next level polishing there.
Green is a G League product. He was drafted by the Cleveland Cavs in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft after winning a National Championship at the University of North Carolina.
Green even played in Slovenia until his game was ripe for the pickings and he caught on with the Spurs in 2011, eventually finding his niche as the super clutch, trey-draining, defensive stopper on the 2014 championship Spurs team and being blessed with the $40 million contract he currently enjoys.
The Shadow League got a chance to speak with the NBA champion about his G League experience, playing with Tim Duncan and for Gregg Popovich – two legends of their respective crafts – and how a team-oriented, perennial playoff machine like the Spurs will handle the proliferation of Super Teams forming throughout the league.
How did your G-League experience prepare you for life in the NBA and help you stick with the Spurs once you got a real opportunity?
“I think It was a very big part of me becoming the type of player that Pop wanted me to be. He thought I was a good player. He thought I was talented, but he didn’t think I had an edge. I think the D-League is that experience that gives a lot of guys the edge, especially myself. You kind of play with more of a chip on your shoulder to prove people wrong, especially the critics. Looking back, that experience was a lot of fun and helped me grow as a player and mature. I became more aggressive and expanded my game a little more. It gave me an edge.”
Did staying four years in college initially hurt you as an NBA prospect?
“I don’t think so. I actually think it helps some guys if they stay an extra year or two. For me, I didn’t have much of a choice. I wasn’t a highly rated prospect coming out of high school. Regardless of what year I left it would probably have been the same outcome for me. It was good for me to get a degree and finish school. I always wanted to graduate from college so I made sure I did that. I tested the waters in my junior year to see what it would be like and I went back to school and ended on a pretty good note, so I was lucky enough to win a National Title before I left.”