After not prioritizing shooting in free agency last summer, the Los Angeles Lakers went out and nabbed one of the league’s best shooters in Danny Green this summer.
Through 80 games with the Toronto Raptors last season, Green shot 45.5 percent from behind the 3-point line on 5.4 attempts per game. Of players that attempted at least 400 3-pointers last season, Green ranked first in 3-point percentage, followed by Stephen Curry at 43.7 percent (810 total attempts).
However, as much as he’s expected to help offensively, Green has made it clear to his new head coach, Frank Vogel, that his priority will be on the defensive end of the floor, Green told reporters during a conference call last week.
“I would expect that it’s the way they’ve seen me in the past, and that’s just spacing the floor,” Green said of Vogel’s expectations for him. “We’re looking forward to the upcoming season, and I told him things he can expect from me, but we haven’t talked about strategy or where he’s planning on using me. Offensively, that’s not my focus. For me it’s always been the defensive end of the floor, and I told him that. He’s excited about it.”
That might just sound like something a player would say to get on his new coach’s good side, but Green’s resume suggests that he isn’t just telling Vogel what he wants to hear.
While he’s only made an All-Defensive Team just once in his 10-year career, Green has established himself as one of the league’s premier defenders. In fact, among active players, Green ranks 16th in career defensive box plus-minus.
Granted, some of the players higher up on the leaderboard like Pau Gasol (15th), Dwight Howard (4th) and Joakim Noah (1st) are well passed their prime, but that doesn’t apply to Green. Just last season, Green ranked second among shooting guards in real defensive plus-minus behind Jimmy Butler.
At 33 years old, it might be a little unrealistic to assume he’ll continue to defend at an elite level, but until he starts to show signs of declining, Vogel has every right to be excited about Green’s devotion to defense.
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