When the Philadelphia 76ers signed Danny Green to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal back in early September, there were certainly some virtual chuckles and eyerolls in Sixers fan circles. After a lost season in Memphis and Cleveland following his torn right ACL and LCL in the 2022 playoffs with the Sixers, it was fair to wonder whether Green, now 36 years old, had anything left in the tank.
However, as Green told The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, “I didn’t do all that rehab for no reason.” While his 1-of-6 shooting performance in Sunday’s preseason opener certainly wouldn’t turn any heads, his 12 minutes in Wednesday night’s second exhibition contest told a different story.
In the Sixers’ loss to Boston, Green sank a pair of triples, finishing with eight points, two rebounds, three assists, and three steals. It was vintage 3-and-D stuff from the veteran, for a team that could certainly use that skill set on the roster. Based on comments after the game, it certainly seems like Green will be sticking around longer than a non-guaranteed camp invite might indicate.
Postgame, head coach Nick Nurse was asked about Danny capitalizing on his minutes:
“Yeah, again, Danny’s gonna be pretty solid and he’s probably gonna have a better night when he makes a few shots. And he did, he made a couple in the first half. They were pretty tough ones. They weren’t great offensive rhythm shots and he still was able to knock ‘em in. Again, there’s another guy that I think that’s nice to have [Kelly] Oubre and Danny come in and get a good number of threes off the bench there.”
Nurse also responded to a question about Green’s spacing helping the offense:
“Yeah, I mean, it [the offense] was, again, a little disjointed and very unrhythmic tonight. Like you mentioned, Danny’s still good at finding out where to kick back out to and move his guy or get behind him or whatever it is. Again, that’s just lot of years of reading defensive situations. But we definitely, this is a team that needs as many catch-and-shoot guys as it can have, right? It’s big that he’s gonna be able to do that. It’s big that Kelly’s gonna be able to do that. House, who was a late scratch because of some knee soreness. It’s not really a big deal, but he was pretty sore tonight so we just decided to hold him out. Those guys are important out there. Obviously, with the guys that we got that command attention in the paint, we’re gonna need some guys that can space.”
The praise wasn’t just restricted to the coaching staff, as teammate Tyrese Maxey had complimentary things to say when answering what it has been like to have Danny back:
“It’s been great, man. Danny Green, we love him here. He hit a couple crazy threes, like Danny Green does. He’s a good locker room presence, too. He’s an older guy, he’s won three chips. He’s someone who knows Nick Nurse; he knows how he is, he knows his style. So he can kind of tell guys what coach is thinking sometimes without having to ask coach. Danny’s a great vibe. He’s a great vibe for the team, great morale. We appreciate Danny.”
Green has long been a valuable teammate and connecting piece on winning rosters, including his two prior seasons in Philadelphia. He was still available to be brought in on a non-guaranteed deal because of his age and the post-injury uncertainty surrounding him. However, it seems like Danny put the work in to get his body back to a place where he can contribute to an NBA team.
At age 36, Green is unlikely to be in a place where he’s going to playing 20-plus minutes per game. But could he be a valuable asset playing 12-to-15 minutes per night? It certainly seems like that could be the case. For a team short on positive storylines this offseason, having the Danny Green cut back in our lives could be a fun one.