The Los Angeles Lakers opened the season on a tear, and despite having offensively gifted players like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Danny Green and others, they did so by focusing on the defensive end.
Green was asked about the consistency on that end and what he does to help make that possible, and said that’s always his primary focus (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“It’s always defense for me. I’ve got to impact on that end first. Offensively it’ll come, whether I get three, four shots or 10-12,” Green said. “Some nights I might get two, some nights I might get 10.
“But regardless, (I need to) space the floor, and when I’m open I try to knock it down and put pressure on the defense. Defensively I’ve got to come in every night, bring that intensity, that energy, that activity in getting deflections and getting hands on the ball, and keeping guys out of the paint,” Green continued. “Our bigs have done a great job of allowing us to get into guys and be more comfortable out on the perimeter playing defense.”
One thing anyone who has watched the Lakers consistently this year must have noticed by now is that Green is more of the feast-or-famine type shooter than he is someone you can pencil in for a certain type of shooting night on a regular basis. He’s still an incredible shooter, to be clear, but his shot does come and go.
So the fact that he is so focused on being consistent on defense does alleviate some of what you lose on those nights where his shot isn’t falling. This is an incredibly mature way to play the game, as far too many players allow their defensive effort to be dictated by how they’re shooting on a given night. His consistency also allows the Lakers to try different things, as evidenced by their success playing zone for the first time the other night.
With Green consistently putting forth winning effort and being smart about his approach given the kind of defenders behind him, he’s an absolutely crucial element of the Lakers’ success thus far, and should serve as a great example to younger guys on the roster for how to approach the game in general.
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