NEW ORLEANS -- A career 41.6 percent 3-point shooter, Danny Green currently sits at 30.0 and his field goal percentage (career 43.6 percent) is down to 32.9 percent. But nobody in the San Antonio Spurs organization is overly concerned.
That’s partially because of all the other ways Green contributes. (He finished at plus-22 in plus/minus in Wednesday’s win over the Nuggets).
We caught up with Green at the Smoothie King Center during the Spurs' morning shootaround as they prepared to face the Pelicans. In this Q&A Green discusses his shooting stroke, and how the Spurs are coming along with their implementation of LaMarcus Aldridge:
How’s the shooting stroke?
Green: We’ll see tonight. It’s just being more calm within the system. It’s different than last year, especially with the first group playing at a different pace, different spacing, different movements. So it’s just understanding, choosing and picking my spots, and not rushing it is the biggest key for me, and not putting too much pressure on it. My biggest thing now is just worrying about defense.
The shooting stroke, is that something you can usually feel in shootarounds or in pregame warmups as far as determining how you’ll shoot?
Green: Sometimes, but you never know how it’s going to turn out. Sometimes, it’ll feel great and you’ll miss shots. Sometimes, it’ll feel awful every time it comes off your hand and you’ll make shots. Obviously the better it feels the more confident you are in going out and shooting it. Sometimes it feels great. Most of the time, it feels pretty good. But sometimes in a game, you may not get the look you wanted. You may not get the catch you wanted. It may be rushed. Sometimes, it may just be too much adrenaline where you’re shooting a little harder than you normally want to. But as I said, we’ll see when it comes to game time. But right now, it feels pretty good.
How difficult is it to stay calm regardless of whether you’re shooting well or badly?
Green: It’s not easy. It takes some years of maturity, of being in this league and being a professional. Obviously my coaches encourage me. My teammates encourage me every day. They’ll tell me not to worry about it and shoot the next one. They believe every time I shoot it that it’s going in. It took me a couple of years to not worry about it so much, and [not] put so much pressure on it. [I] just do other things: rebound, play defense, get steals, block some shots, run transition, open up the floor. My job out there is to space the floor, to be a threat. Either way, I’ve got to take the shot so that they are aware of me, and I’m a threat out there. It spaces the floor for Tony [Parker] and LaMarcus and everybody else to work in the paint.
So the coaching staff isn’t going to jump on you for missing shots as much as they’ll get on you for not taking shots?
Green: More so than ever. They’ll get on me [more] for not taking shots than missing shots.
Team-wise, how’s the process going of implementing all the new players with the returners?
Green: I think defensively we’re [more] ahead than [we are on] offense. As a team, we’re getting there. We’re coming together. We’re starting to feel more comfortable. We’re starting to understand the plays we’re running through now. We don’t have to tell [people] where to be. But it comes in spurts and phases. We show some glimpses of it, especially when that second group is on the floor. They get it moving. Manu [Ginobili] and Patty [Mills], they move the ball pretty well, get up the floor. The first group, we’re still getting acclimated. But I think we’re working together better. Our offensive pace is a little different, but we’re getting used to it. Guys are getting more efficient and more comfortable in it.
Why is the defense so far ahead given there’s new parts on the defensive end, too?
Green: It’s hard to say. But defensively, we’ve only got to think about who’s going to shoot the ball. Everybody’s involved, everybody has to be involved. We have a foundation with us. Offensively, we’ve got to figure out spacing, see who’s gonna get the ball, see what’s a good shot, what’s not a good shot. It’s more strategic. Defensively, we’ve just got to rotate and talk to each other.