Initially, most people thought Danny Green would join Andre Iguodala, Rajon Rondo, (2021) Marc Gasol, and Dwight Howard to
form a devastating defensive contender in the early 2010’s as acquired veterans that ultimately never suited up for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Zach Kleiman made it clear that Danny Green was a member of the Memphis Grizzlies and in their plans this season. Green even said the Grizzlies EVP of Basketball Operations told him he’s exactly what this young team needed.
Even while he’s rehabbing from his knee surgery, his value is clear. He’s a veteran presence that’s been there before. He’s been a part of 3 championship teams, all from different organizations. He’s played pivotal roles in those moments, as he’s 4th in NBA history for most 3’s in the NBA Finals for his career.
Obviously, we don’t get the full glimpse of his value inside the locker room, but he’s active in the development of the young players on this team. You can see him in their ears on the bench, giving them pointers throughout the flow of the game, and he’s a frequent attendee of Memphis Hustle games.
He’s living up to his word of being a veteran presence for this team.
“[Danny Green] has been huge. He’s had a substantial impact,” head coach Taylor Jenkins told the media before last night’s game. “He has fit in great here with his personality. Obviously, the basketball piece, just another voice in our locker room, on the floor. Just another ear to bend. He’s built great relationships with the teammates that started back in the summer. He came here early, coming to Memphis after the trade. To want to be here and build those relationships, that speaks volumes to him. His character and personality, he’s an ultimate competitor. He’s got joy and humor behind him as well, which lines up with our guys. He’s just been a perfect fit.”
So his initial value is showing. It seemed like Kleiman wanted to bring in a veteran presence without totally taking away minutes from the young guys; the trade for Green and the interest in Joe Ingles signaled that notion.
Here soon, we’re about to see Danny Green’s value even more.
Today is the day Green’s contract becomes fully guaranteed, assuming he doesn’t get waived (spoiler: he won’t.). In addition, two other important dates are approaching.
Let’s start with the one off the floor, as the February 9th deadline is nearly a month away. Danny Green — attached with either a young player or draft compensation — is the Grizzlies’ most likely trade package, if they’re looking to upgrade the roster. It’s also the most discussed package for Memphis, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst straight-up talked about Green’s trade possibilities right next to him.
So from a trade standpoint, we’re about to see the value of Danny Green. The primary question is what a theoretical package of Green with a combination of young players or draft compensation could catch. Everyone clamors about Kyle Kuzma, Malik Beasley, Gary Trent Jr., or Jordan Clarkson. ESPN’s Zach Lowe specifically mentioned Beasley and Kuzma on NBA Today recently. Either player could bolster the Grizzlies’ Finals chances in a wide-open Western Conference.
Is that possible? Or do the Grizzlies aim a bit lower with veterans like Josh Richardson, Doug McDermott, or Alec Burks?
The biggest question within this is, do the Grizzlies even want to trade Danny Green? Their willingness to include him in deals will dictate the Grizzlies’ trade deadline plans. It seems more likely they see what they have in Green.
And that leads me to the next important date in terms of his value — he’s close to his return.
Green has said on broadcasts and on his podcast that he’s aiming for a return near the All-Star break, which is roughly a month away. Will we see Green in the rotation?
It’s unclear how he’s going to look on the floor, especially coming off a 2-ligament knee injury at 35 years old. Once one of the better 3-and-D wings in this league, his defensive position is unknown. Will he have the speed to cover perimeter guys anymore, or will he shift down to guard 4’s?
Offensively, Green probably won’t be a player doing a whole lot of cutting or taking guys off the dribble. He’ll be a stationary shooter here, but that’s a role he could thrive in to impact the Grizzlies.
Last season, he shot 38.8% from 3 on 4.4 attempts per game, while 84.7% of his field goal attempts came from beyond the arc. His outside shooting should help the Grizzlies’ halfcourt offense. Offensive rebounding bolsters their halfcourt offense — 9th in efficiency, 115.5 points per 100 possessions. However, excluding putbacks, the Grizzlies are 24th in halfcourt efficiency (93.8 points per 100 plays) — per Cleaning the Glass. Accurate 3-point shooting boosts it quite well, and the Grizzlies are in the bottom-10 in both 3-point makes per game and in percentage. A 39.9% career 3-point shooter, Green’s presence should help there — and last season, the Sixers were 2.6 points per 100 plays better in the halfcourt with him on the floor.
Where his on-court value could shine is in the postseason. Again, we know Green’s playoff experience. The Grizzlies have a lot of dudes in the back half of the rotation with little-to-no playoff experience. Ziaire Williams had moments last postseason, and his ability to be the 8th guy in the rotation will also dictate the Grizzlies’ deadline plans. John Konchar didn’t do a whole lot in his minimal amount of minutes last year, and Santi Aldama and David Roddy don’t have playoff experience.
Danny Green could be the Grizzlies’ 9th man in the rotation. He could also win them a playoff game, and The Ringer’s Michael Pina sees that possibility coming in his 2023 predictions:
While it’s just as likely that we see the Grizzlies combine Green’s expiring contract with a draft pick to pursue a meaningful upgrade, Memphis is good enough to win the title with what it has … especially if the Grizzlies are about to add a three-time champion who can still hit 3s and stay in front of his man. It feels like a long time ago, but Green played pretty well last postseason. He shot 40.8 percent behind the arc and drilled 10 from deep in games 3 and 4 against the Heat. Even if he can’t move too well, the Grizzlies (and Ja Morant) will appreciate having that type of gravity on their side in a playoff series.
I compare the role to one of Andre Iguodala with this Golden State Warriors team. He’s not in his prime anymore, but his value comes as a stabilizer — a likely edge for his minutes over, say, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. In a small dose of minutes, like Iguodala now, he’ll play team defense, make the right reads, and hit shots when open. More importantly, he’s a calming presence on the floor, as he’s been in these moments before.
For a young Memphis Grizzlies team, Green’s presence could be valuable on the floor as well in a postseason environment, especially if they go deeper than last year.
With his contract likely becoming fully-guaranteed today, we’re about to see the value of Danny Green one way or another — on the floor as a stabilizing presence, or off it as a trade asset to bolster the depth — over the next month.