Danny Green is clearly doing a whole lot right. He received his first ring with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014 and is presently on a quest to win his third consecutive title with three different teams. After starting his career on the margins of the NBA, he now makes $15 million a year on its very best teams at age 33. Decent-to-excellent perimeter defense and a career 39 percent from three have allowed Green to live a role player’s career to the fullest. Nicely done, Danny. That said, I despise every second I’ve ever spent watching him prosecute his stiff, raggedy brand of basketball.
Danny Green will forget how to make his arm perform the component movements of a layup, and try to recreate it from a 20-year-old memory, after he’s already left the ground. He has never seen ball movement he couldn’t constipate. His game is more premeditated than murder in the first-degree. If he takes the over on 1.5 dribbles, there will be blood. Green is the best living basketball player who semi-regularly looks like he has never played the sport before. Even the sight of his jump shot haunts me, how he holds his frozen talon of a follow-through and thuds onto his wide-set feet for a leaden second. There is not a scrap of connective tissue to his game, no intuition, just the “D” stapled directly onto the “3” with nothing else in between. Danny Green is a direct response to the market forces of the pace-and-space NBA, as joyless and narrowly defined as a financial instrument, and there is no undefended hoop he couldn’t miss.
So while there was a lot to hate about the New York Knicks’ 101-100 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night, not least the ticky-tack foul call on Julius Randle that let Tobias Harris shoot the game-sealing free throws, the enduring image in my brain is Green briefly cosplaying as Steph Curry. Green started his shooting performance with this airballed three, then a leaden floater, then a mangled layup. This is his natural state, where he should remain.
Danny Green is not supposed to “cook” off the dribble and pop a free-throw-line floater to send the game to overtime. This is against God.
Danny Green’s purpose is to stand ankle-deep in concrete, ready to receive a crosscourt bullet from LeBron James or Ben Simmons, so he can mechanically ferry the ball into the basket before a defender has wandered within 15 feet of him. Those are the three-pointers he’s supposed to make. Not this kind:
So, yes, the Sixers overcame some of the most physical and resourceful defense the Knicks have played this millennium because Danny Green decided he was going to swish off-the-dribble stepbacks with R.J. Barrett smothering his entire field of vision. They have now won 15 straight against New York.