Eager to shed the label of ‘underachievers’ has that haunted them in years past, the Sixers made a slew of impactful moves this offseason to bolster the roster and staff. In an effort to further entrench themselves as title contenders, the Sixers brought in first-ballot Hall of Fame coach Doc Rivers, sharpshooter Seth Curry, and even managed to offload incumbent starter Al Horford and his bloated contract. It was in the Horford swap that the Sixers were able to acquire veteran wing Danny Green– a move that looks smarter by the day.
For the Sixers, shipping Horford out of town was a no-brainer, as his sluggish, snail-like pace did not fit Philly’s style of play.
With Danny Green playing so well though, the move has gone from understandable to extremely beneficial. Not only were the Sixers able to remove one of their biggest roster flaws in Horford, they were also able to address their need for long-range shooting by adding one of the best three-point snipers in the game.
Starting in all but one game so far this season, Green has been exactly what the doctor ordered in Philly. His intangibles, defensive effort, and vocal leadership are huge reasons why the Sixers group has been so effective and has increased accountability amongst the group.
In between action, Green can always be seen communicating with his teammates, usually barking out orders to stay focused and understand their assignments. A member of three different championship teams, Green’s immense focus and ability to perform in high pressure situations has been contagious.
The veteran guard is constantly talking and making sure his teammates are ready for battle. Perhaps the most impactful mentorship he has extended is to budding star Matisse Thybulle, who Green thinks very highly of.
“His confidence is growing and I think he can grow even more,” said veteran Danny Green following a loss to the Suns. “I’ve offered to talk and he’s a kid that wants to learn. That’s what I love about Matisse. I told him I would love to sit down and watch some film with him.”
Already a major headache for opposing players on defense, Thybulle could really bolster the team’s championship chances if he can develop offensively. Recognizing that, Green has taken the former first-rounder under his wing as he tries to help get him playoff ready.
“Once he changes his mindset on the offensive end of the floor and just changes a couple of little things,” Green stated. “We gotta simplify some things for him, and the rest of the team. Especially, making it easier for Joel and Tobias when those guys get doubled, mostly Joel. We have Matisse in the right areas where he can attack and be aggressive and make it easy for him to get easy baskets.”
Perhaps his words of wisdom are paying off, as Thybule has experienced an uptick in efficiency on the offensive end. Since the all-star break, Thybulle is shooting 48% from the floor and 35% from deep – a near ten percent jump in each category from his 37% FG and 26% 3P% prior to the break.
The veteran sharpshooter has also been credited with helping Sixers reserve Furkan Korkmaz understand his defensive assignments. “To be honest, I like Danny’s mentality on defense,” said Korkmaz. “He’s trying to lead the first unit with Ben and Jo. Overall, he’s trying to be a team defense player and an individual really good defensive player. That’s what I learned from Danny.”
Eager to add another championship to his collection, Green has been preaching game to anyone willing to listen and his voluntary leadership is helping some of the youngsters on the roster.
“Not just defensively, offensively, too,” said Korkmaz. “He likes to talk. Danny likes to talk so he’s really helpful. I think it’s a good thing to have him around. He’s got rings, he’s got experience, we all got to be hungry to listen.”
Not only is Green helping others come along on offense, but he has also elevated his play as the playoffs draw near. A career 40% three-point shooter, Green is shooting a scorching-hot 47% from deep through the month of April.
In addition to his tireless defense, Green has been one of the better 3-and-D players in the league this season and a welcome addition for a Sixers team that desperately needed a boost in both areas.
Although the move to acquire Green this offseason didn’t exactly send shockwaves around the league, his union with Philly may have helped complete their transformation into title contenders. It’s too early to celebrate, but the Sixers have to be thrilled with what they’ve gotten from the veteran Green this season.
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