Heels in the Pros: The Story of Danny Green


Many people may have heard about the Spurs’ guard Danny Green by now. He is currently lighting up the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. He has already set an NBA Finals record for 3pt shots made in an NBA Finals series, shooting 25/38 from beyond the arc in only 5 games. That is an insane 66%. Analysts and broadcasters have been raving about Green during this series, and some even saying that if the Spurs win the NBA Championship that Green should be Finals MVP. Danny’s story is one that is very inspiring, but it goes much deeper than what you hear on the television.

Jun 16, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green (4) shoots a three-point shot over Miami Heat shooting guard Mike Miller (13) during the first quarter of game five in the 2013 NBA Finals at the AT

Danny Green committed to the North Carolina Tar Heels in the fall of 2004. He joined a class that already had Tyler Hansbrough and Bobby Frasor. He grew up cheering for the Tar Heels and made his dream a reality by joining them. That itself is an amazing story, but there is much more to come. Think about all of the aspiring college basketball players who dreamed to wear the North Carolina Blue. Danny made it happen.

Green had a solid freshman year for the Tar Heels, averaging 15.3mpg, 7.5ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.1apg, and 1 block per game. Then the Tar Heels brought in one of the best recruiting classes they had ever assembled in Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Brandon Wright, Will Graves, Deon Thompson, and Alex Stepheson. If you add them in with the returning seniors, you would notice that there was not much playing time to go around.

Danny saw his playing time diminish, and even with that playing time he was not playing as well. Then during his sophomore season his father was arrested and put in jail for 18 months. That was very hard to deal with for Green. Things outside of the basketball court were not going well for him. These hardships almost made Danny transfer from UNC. He was very close to transferring, but his teammates and coaches at UNC helped him get through it. He decided to stick out his career at UNC.

All of this hardship only motivated Green. He worked very hard to try and crack the starting lineup, which he only did one time in his first three years as a Tar Heel. He played much more as a junior and was much more productive with his minutes. Danny was a very solid sixth man for the Heels that year. Danny then surprised all Tar Heels by declaring for the draft in 2008, but did not hire an agent. He was projected as a second round pick. Then Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Green decided to return to UNC for another year. This could have been a big mistake for Green.

In Green’s final season as a Tar Heel, he started all 38 games that season and had his best season by far as a Tar Heel. He averaged 27.4 mpg, 13.1ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.7apg, 1.3 blocks a game, and 1.8 steals per game. Danny did a little bit of everything for the Tar Heels that season which ended up with a national championship. One would think there might not be a better ending to a career. After three years of not starting and off the court problems, Green finally shined as a starter on a national championship winning team.

Danny Green then entered the draft and became the 46th overall selection for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was still a second round draft pick, but earned a contract with the team. His rookie season he only appeared in 20 games for the Cavaliers, and only averaged 6 minutes and 2 points. Then he was cut after the season.

He was picked up by the San Antonio Spurs, and only appeared in 8 games for them during the 2010-2011 season. He served three stints in the NBA D-League, some time overseas, and was cut by the Spurs twice. After getting cut by the Spurs he called Coach Popovich and begged for another chance. He was granted that chance and made the best of it. Manu Ginobli got hurt at the beginning of the 2011-2012 season, which gave Green an opportunity to start. He earned his place on the Spurs. During that season he started 38 of the 66 games he played in. Green averaged 23.1 minutes per game, 9.1 points per game, and shot 43.6% from beyond the arc. That offseason, Green earned himself a 3 year, $12 million dollar deal that was fully guaranteed. Danny had finally made it in the NBA, but this story is not done yet.

So here we are now at the 2012-2013 season. Danny Green started 80 games out of the 80 games he appeared in during the regular season. Green averaged 27.5mpg, 10.1ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.8apg, and shot 43% from beyond the 3pt line for the regular season. He has started all of the Spur’s 19 postseason games so far, and it does not look like he will be demoted any time soon.

The Spurs made it to the NBA Finals to be matched up against Lebron James and the Miami Heat. Through the first 5 games of the series the Spurs lead 3-2 and Danny Green has put on the best 3pt shooting performance in Finals history, and it is not even over yet. Mentioned above, he has made 25 out of 38 3pt attempts. That is an NBA Finals record. Green broke Ray Allen’s record of 23 made 3pt shots in an NBA Finals series, and again, the series is not even over yet. He is averaging 34mpg, 18ppg, 4rpg, 1apg, 1.6 blocks per game, and an insane 65.8% from the 3pt line. A hot topic among everyone who is watching the NBA Finals is always the Finals MVP. There is currently a debate that if the Spurs win, Danny Green should be MVP. There is certainly a case to back that statement up as well.

So there you have it, the story of Danny Green. He went from almost transferring from UNC, to national champion, to 2nd round draft pick. Green was cut by Cleveland, spent time in the D-League and overseas, cut twice by the Spurs, and now NBA Finals record holder. He might even be an NBA Champion, and maybe the NBA Finals MVP.

Danny Green is living proof that you should never give up.