The Los Angeles Lakers have a handful of NBA champions on their roster this season, including LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Quinn Cook, but only one of them is technically still an NBA champion, and that’s Danny Green.
Green helped the Toronto Raptors win their first championship in franchise history last season alongside his former San Antonio Spurs teammate Kawhi Leonard. That’s led a lot of people (myself, included) to ask Green what similarities he sees between this year’s Lakers team and last year’s Raptors team.
While Green does think that are something things that both teams have in common, he told Jared Dudley in an Instagram Live Q&A earlier this week that this year’s Lakers team reminds him of another team he was on not too long ago:
“I feel like this Lakers team is more similar to our Spurs team than the Toronto team. In Toronto, we had a lot more younger guys. San Antonio, we had a lot more vets, older guys, but we had a mix. Me and Kawhi were a little younger, but in our primes, and then we had some of the older guys … For us, the similarities I see is that we have a lot of experience, and we have the depth — we definitely have the depth. And obviously the most healthy team always wins, and that’s usually a little part of the luck, but a team that’s clicking at the right time.
“I think we were rolling, bro. We were rolling at the right time, beating teams that we needed to beat. I think the biggest thing for us is finding our niche and getting comfortable with our rotations, and getting comfortable with the roles, and understanding the bigger picture. I think that’s what we kind of had: Rondo knew his spot — AC, Kuz — without frustration … I feel for coach a lot of times because we so many guys but we don’t have enough minutes or enough basketballs to get plays and shots for everybody.”
The Spurs team Green is likely referring to is the 2014 team that beat the Miami Heat in five games in the NBA Finals — I wonder if that ever comes up between him and LeBron James? It’s not hard to see why Green feels that way, though, at least compared to last year’s Raptors team.
Not only did the Spurs have the depth Green noted, but they had a pair of All-Stars in Tim Duncan and Tony Parker the same way the Lakers have a pair of All-Stars in James and Anthony Davis. James and Davis might be a better tandem than Parker and Duncan were, but the Spurs had better depth, and a coach that knew how to get the most out of his players in Gregg Popovich.
So long as the Lakers stay on the path they were on before the season was indefinitely suspended, there’s no reason to believe their season won’t end the same way the Spurs’ season ended in 2014.