NEW YORK — Perhaps the best way to describe Danny Green is a champion.
The 76ers’ small forward won his second straight NBA title and third overall last season when the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Green’s other titles came with the 2019 Toronto Raptors and the 2014 San Antonio Spurs.
But he didn’t just hold a roster spot. Green played key roles on each of those squads.
The 12th-year veteran is doing the same thing with the Sixers. Green is a great leader who complements All-Stars Joel Embiid ad Ben Simmons and standout Tobias Harris. He’s also helped to bring a winning culture to a squad that had accountability issues in the past.
» READ MORE: Teams have upgraded; Will Sixers make a deal?
There’s no denying that Green is the Sixers’ unsung hero, just like he was in San Antonio, Toronto, and Los Angeles.
“I just come in and try to do my job,” Green said. “A lot of that I learned in San Antonio.”
Green spent eight seasons in San Antonio, learning from future Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich, Hall of Fame power forward Tim Duncan, and former standout point guard Tony Parker. Green will tell you he’s been around “greats” and he’s been blessed to have great coaches and great teammates over this career. He included Sixers coach Doc Rivers, a future Hall of Famer, in that category.
“I know sometimes everyone doesn’t always agree, whether it’s here or other places, but you find ways to compromise,” he said. “You find ways to work and build chemistry with teammates, coaches, staff, everybody, medical [staff].
“So every organization that I have been to has done an amazing job from top down, the front office to the medical staff, to my teammates and coaches.”
He adds that Rivers has been great in communicating what he wants from the Sixers every night while managing minutes and bodies.
Green, 33, and Dwight Howard, 35, were the only Sixers to play in all 42 games as of Saturday night. Green averaged 9.1 points while shooting 38.6% on three-pointers to go with a career-best 1.3 steals. His 28.4 minutes per game were also the most minutes he’s played since averaging 28.5 during the 2014-15 season.
On Saturday, Green finished with 18 points as the undermanned Sixers toppled the Sacramento Kings, 129-105. It was his second straight 18-point performance and fourth double-digit scoring outing in five games.
But, for the most part, Green’s contributions normally go unnoticed due to playing alongside Embiid, Simmons, Harris, and Seth Curry.
“He’s being Danny Green,” Rivers said. “When you think about it, you can say that’s been his whole career. You know, no one talked about him in San Antonio. They had Tim Duncan and [Manu] Ginobili, and Parker, and all those other guys. No one talked about him in Toronto. They had Kyle Lowry and Kawhi [Leonard]. And no one talked about him last year with the Lakers.
“So it doesn’t affect him. I can tell you that. He just does his job, happy to do it, for your team.”
D’Aaron Fox calls Matisse Thybulle ‘one of the best’ defenders
Kings point guard D’Aaron Fox struggled through 5-of-14 shooting in route to scoring 16 points Saturday night against the Sixers. He didn’t score his first basket until 4 minutes, 44 seconds remained in the first quarter because of Matisse Thybulle’s lockdown defense.
Fox’s supar night came after averaging 29.0 points over his previous seven games.
“He’s tall, long, has great anticipating skills, never gives up on a play, plays hard,” Fox said of the 6-foot-6 Thybulle. “Those things help you be a great defender. It’s something he wants to do, knows he can do, and he knows he’s one of the best at it.”
Back on Feb. 4, Fox had 34 points in a 119-111 loss to the Sixers in Sacramento. However, he was held to seven points on 3-for-13 shooting with Thybulle guarding him in the fourth quarter. Ben Simmons had the assignment during the first three quarters of that game.