I vaguely remember an NBA commentator mentioning the Grizzlies after the 2009 draft and how they missed an opportunity to draft Danny Green - a then 22-year-old, six-foot-six wing out of North Carolina. Green was known for his shooting prowess, but many at the time overlooked him because of his age. The Grizzlies of course took Sam Young at 36 and Green was acquired by Cleveland ten picks later at 46. Green was waived by the Cavaliers the following offseason and signed by the San Antonio Spurs - with whom he won an NBA Championship and set the record at the time of three-pointers made in the finals with 23.
Green has since experienced a lengthy career that includes winning another championship with the Toronto Raptors as well as one with the Los Angeles Lakers. In 12 NBA seasons, he has carved out a very successful career, including at one time being one of the prototypes of the much coveted 3-and-D moniker. In a league where role players are vital to a championship-level team, Green emerged as an exceptional defender as well as being known for knocking down shots from long range at an efficient rate. His days of being a top-tier role player are long gone, but I believe he can still add value to a young Memphis Grizzlies team that is predicted to be amongst the league's best.
Last year with the Philadelphia 76ers, Green suffered a knee injury in the playoffs that he feels confident that he will be able to return from. Tearing the ACL and LCL can be a career-shattering injury, but Green is determined to come back before the All-Star Break.
If Green’s proclamations stand, the Grizzlies could add a potentially good bench player in the later part of the season. Green is a 39.9% three-point shooter and will cause teams to at least play him honest and defend him from deep - causing open lanes for players like Ja Morant to get to the basket with even greater ease. Assuming that he will come back healthy is by no means a small feat, but if he is able to come back and be productive, his wealth of experience - especially playoff experience could be huge.
Green of course has also gained a reputation for being a good defender over his career, which lends to me thinking he can help this young team on that end as well. His ability to be a high-level on-ball defender is probably diminished but I can still see him being able to fortify the Grizzlies’ team-defensive front. If healthy - or at least moderately healthy - I can really see him being a welcomed surprise addition.
Even if not healthy, and especially if he is actually able to contribute on the court - a player like Green can add a verbal veteran presence to the locker room and organization. Players of a similar ilk like Desmond Bane, Ziaire Williams, and Dillon Brooks could definitely benefit from a vet like Green being on the sidelines. Players like Andre Iguodala and Udonis Haslem provide this type of influence for their respective teams while having very limited roles on the court.
Who would be better to help Dillon Brooks - our best on-ball defender - understand how to take better shots and how to help the team as a decoy as well as a scorer? Imagine Ziaire with another crafty veteran to teach him discipline on defense. A guy like Desmond Bane can only get better getting up shots in the gym with a shooter like Green. He can help our young wings to be better competitors and professionals - on and off the court.
Green could very well be moved or waived before training camp even begins, but I personally believe that he will not only retain a roster spot but will be fully rehabilitated and will contribute to the team on the court. Our fans have often requested an additional veteran on the roster and if healthy - Green might be the one that can satisfy that role.