When Danny Green returned to the Spurs after the 2011 NBA lockout, he took one glance around a Spurs’ locker room overstocked with guards and knew he had his work cut out.
Manu Ginobili was in one corner. Gary Neal, fresh off an all-rookie campaign, was in another. Elsewhere was James Anderson, at the time the team’s highest-drafted player since Tim Duncan.
“I never thought I would see the floor,” Green said.
Flash forward 16 months to a chilly Wednesday night in Minnesota. There was Green, a starter now, throwing in 3-pointer after 3-pointer, threatening a 16-year-old franchise record en route to a career-high 28 points.
Green’s stunning shooting show helped the Spurs salvage a 104-94 victory over the Timberwolves in the first game of their annual rodeo road trip, which resumes tonight at Detroit.
To the 25-year-old Green, a fourth-year pro in the first season of a three-year guaranteed contract worth a little more than $11 million, life still seems like a dream.
“Last year, I was just hoping to stay on the team for the whole year and not get cut,” Green said. “Maybe if I was lucky, I could crack the rotation. I had no idea or thoughts I’d be starting for this team.”
A mercurial player whose streak shooting has earned him the blogosphere-anointed nickname “IcyHot,” Green heads to Detroit on one of his patented upticks.
In the past three games of an 11-game winning streak, Green has averaged 20 points and made 20 of 29 field goals, including 13 of 20 from long range.
With an 8-of-12 performance against Minnesota, Green came within one 3-pointer of equaling the club’s single-game record of nine, set by Chuck Person against Vancouver on Dec. 30, 1997.
For the season, Green is shooting 41.9 percent from 3-point range, tied for 14th in the league with Miami’s Ray Allen, arguably the most lethal long-distance sniper in history.
Green’s story, from undrafted, twice-waived journeyman to starting shooting guard on the team with the best record in the NBA, is one of perseverance.
It is also a fable about finding the right place to bloom.
Green personifies Spurs’ system
San Antonio Express-News | Feb 8