Very rarel in the NBA can a player choose whom they want to play with. Take the Cleveland Cavaliers, for example. Ostensibly, the decision to sign Danny Green following his buyout from the Houston Rockets fell to GM Koby Altman.
And it’s probably a good thing, given Cavs superstar Donovan Mitchell’s history with Green.
“I hated him at that time,” Mitchell said to cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor regarding Green.
“That time” was way back in 2013, when Mitchell’s favorite LeBron-led Miami Heat fell to the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals.
Fortunately, Green has had some time to grow and mature since then. In fact, Mitchell got to know Green on a personal level, with the former competing against the latter’s younger brother in AAU.
“I’ve known Danny and his family since I was 11 or 12 years old. It’s kind of crazy how life works. A lot of things come full circle, especially for me this year. I think the first thing you think of is his shooting, the way he can space the floor,” Mitchell noted to Fedor.
Mitchell is spot on; in his last two seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, Green shot 39.5% from three on just about 5.5 attempts per game. If Green could space the floor for Joel Embiid, there’s little reason to believe he can’t do the same for Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
Cavaliers Need Floor-Spacing Depth
While Mitchell and backcourt partner Darius Garland are an excellent floor-spacers in their own right, the Cavs have been gashed this season on the wing.
For all of Isaac Okoro‘s promise, his inconsistency from deep can be maddening. Caris LeVert is a nice player, but his career 33.7% from deep suggests this year’s 36.5% is a bit fluky.
Even with other options in Cedi Osman, Kevin Love, and Dean Wade, the Cavs have struggled mightily to find production from deep outside of the Garland and Mitchell. It’s a big reason why the Cavs are 23rd in threes attempted and just 12th in three-point rate.
And that’s where Green comes in.
We mentioned Green’s fit with Embiid already, but Green got his start playing with another NBA legend in San Antonio: Tim Duncan. And in those seven seasons, Green was a consistent floor-spacer and threat from deep, accruing a 39.6% mark from deep.
Green knows how to play with stars. He brings a semblence of veteran leadership. The only question will be whether his health holds up over the course of entire playoffs run.
Cavs Plan to Integrate Green ‘Gingerly’
Not only is Green a slight injury risk, but he threatens to disrupt the strong run Cleveland is on at present. As it stands, Cleveland has won seven straight, a red-hot mark after a turbulent January.
Midseason additions, no matter how talented, often presents a risk of derailing the chemistry and balance a team develops through the season.
Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff knows that fact all too well and is cognizant of it looking forward.
“We will be very ginger with [how the Cavs integrate Green into the rotation] because we do not want to disrupt the rhythm of what these guys are finding right now,” Bickerstaff noted to Chris Fedor of cleveland.com.
The Cavs have a shot to extend their streak on Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.