Last summer, the Los Angeles Lakers gave a two-year, $30 million contract to Danny Green, who, a few weeks prior to signing his contract, had hoisted the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy for the second time in his 10-year career.
Green didn’t lead the 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs or last year’s Toronto Raptors to a title, but his perimeter defense and 3-point shooting made him a perfect complementary piece to both teams’ star players. The Lakers signed Green with the hope that he’d enjoy the same — or greater — success playing alongside their superstar tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis this year, but that hasn’t been the case so far, and Green knows it too.
In a recent interview with Melissa Rohlin of Sports Illustrated, Green said he doesn’t think he’s played up to his potential this season, but he’s confident that he’ll figure it out eventually because of the work he puts in:
“This year, I haven’t been the specialist that I’ve needed to be,” Green said. “Still getting better, still perfecting it. But nothing in this league is easy to do, especially when people know what you’re good at. They’re going to try to limit that, take that away from you.”
Green is shooting 38.1% from behind the arc, which is 2.1% worse than his career average and 7.4% worse than what he shot last season. However, Green’s role has also fluctuated more than it has in recent years, and he’s averaging the fewest minutes per game he’s averaged since the 2013-14 season. Sure, one could argue that all he needs to do is make open 3-pointers, but in order to do that, he needs to be in rhythm, and that’s been harder for him to do with the role he’s been asked to play this season.
Green should also find solace in the fact that the Lakers are still six points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor, which is the third-highest positive point differential on the team behind LeBron James and Alex Caruso, according to Cleaning the Glass. Additionally, Green has the second-highest offensive rating (114) on the Lakers. For someone that hasn’t played his best, that’s still pretty good.
Green will make his return to the starting lineup on Sunday against the New Orleans Pelicans. He sat out of Saturday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies because of a sore hip.
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