Danny Green could end up being the 76ers’ best offseason acquisition.
Some will point to shooting guard Seth Curry, who has ranked third in the NBA in three-point shooting in each of the past two seasons. Others will argue the Sixers got a steal in rookie Tyrese Maxey, who unexpectedly fell to them at No. 21 in the draft. And you can’t forget about Dwight Howard, the former All-Everything center who’s content to be an All-Whatever You Need reserve.
Now, some might say that at 33, Green has lost a step. Others point out how the three-and-D swingman shot just 28.9% from three for the Los Angeles Lakers in last season’s NBA Finals. The New York native even received threats via social media after missing a potential series winner with 7 seconds left in Game 5 against Miami.
But the Sixers know Green is a better three-point shooter than that series would suggest, shooting 40% in 688 career regular-season games.
They also know that the 12th-year veteran is a great leader with a knack for complementing elite players and winning NBA titles. The Lakers ended up defeating the Heat in six games, marking Green’s second straight NBA title and third overall. He also won it with the 2019 Toronto Raptors and 2014 San Antonio Spurs.
That’s one reason why the Sixers sought him in the Al Horford trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder after the Lakers shipped him to the Thunder last month.
The trade that brought Green, Terrance Ferguson, and Vincent Poirier to Philadelphia became official on Tuesday. The trio participated in their first practice on Wednesday.
“It’s amazing to be wanted and to be sought after,” Green said following Wednesday’s practice. “So I’m happy to be here.”
While elated to be wanted, the 6-foot-6, 215-pounder also displayed his fun-loving personality during his introductory media call.
“Hopefully, I live up to expectations,” he said, “but also the pressure is on them. I’ve wonback-to-back. It’s their job to get me there and win another. If they don’t, they [messed] it up. No, I’m just playing.”
However, Green is definitely aware that and Howard, also a member of last season’s Lakers squad, will be looked upon to bring a winning culture to a squad that had accountability issues in the past. He realizes the changes won’t happen overnight.
“It takes day by day, and it’s a process,” he said. “It’s a project that hopefully by All-Star break, by toward the end of the season, guys are mentally prepared for what’s to come.”
Green said he liked the energy of his first practice with the Sixers, that he could tell that guys are excited to be in the gym. They’re also excited to “learn from each other, play with each other and compete against each other,” he said.
Coach Doc Rivers was impressed with Green’s first practice, calling it “unbelievable.” The coach said he “shot the heck out of the ball,” made reads, and was terrific overall.
But Green’s job off the floor is more important than his job on it. He’s here to teach his new teammates things like guarding pick-and-rolls, guarding screens, becoming better communicators defensively, and more. And Green will help all of his teammates, not just the elite young stars.
Aside from energy, a couple of things stood out to him during his first practice. He said they were things he knows he can try to change for the better, but he wasn’t ready to address them publicly. He’s still learning his teammates, their mannerisms, and habits.
“And then growing a type of rapport with them first before I say, ‘You know what, we need to get this guy into gear,’ ” he said. “ ‘We need to get this guy building habits of doing this the right way every single time, or doing this at full speed or at least 80% in everything we do,’ you know what I’m saying.”
Green knows there are times when you take your time early on doing certain things, not wanting to stress the body.
“But if you want to build those [great] habits, you go 100%. ... got to be full tilt preparing for a game, especially as we’re getting closer to that date,” Green said of the Dec. 23 season opener at home against the Washington Wizards. “The date comes up quick and we only have but [two] weeks.
“So we got to get guys ready. We got about a week to get guys in shape.”