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OKC Thunder needs a Danny Green-type of player

COMMENTARY — Players who can shoot and defend are out there. It’s Sam Presti’s job to go out and find them.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 17, 2014


photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) and San Antonio's Danny Green (4) watch a Green 3-point shot go in as fans celebrate during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Thursday, May 29, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) and San Antonio's Danny Green (4) watch a Green 3-point shot go in as fans celebrate during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Thursday, May 29, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

The Thunder is in the market for a shooting guard. Either by newcomer or oldcomer. Maybe free agent. Maybe trade. Maybe Jeremy Lamb. Maybe Reggie Jackson. But it seems clear that Thabo Sefolosha’s days are over in Oklahoma City.

And here’s who the Thunder needs. Someone like Danny Green.

I know, it’s quite an opportunistic time to be espousing Green, who played sensationally in the NBA Finals: 21.2 minutes, 9.2 points and 2.0 steals per game, on 53.1 shooting, including 45 percent 3-point shooting. Plus solid defense on Dwyane Wade and occasionally LeBron James.

Green doesn’t always play like that. But he does a lot. We’ve seen him enough battling the Thunder to know that.

And it’s not like Green is available. The Thunder doesn’t need Danny Green. Or at least shouldn’t covet the unattainable. The Thunder needs someone like Danny Green. Good shooter. Solid defender.

That’s it. Nothing spectacular. Nothing stunning. Just a good shooter and solid defender.

And here’s the good news. The world is full of players like that. You just have to identify them. Sure, the Arron Afflalos and Trevor Arizas are easy to pick out. That’s why they make $7-8 million a year. The hard part is finding the Danny Greens who haven’t been given the chance.

Maybe that’s Jeremy Lamb. Maybe that’s a collegian who wasn’t in a spot to shine while on campus. Maybe that’s a journeyman who never found the right fit. Maybe that’s a scrapper who just never got the chance.

That’s Sam Presti’s job. Find a Danny Green in the brushpile.

The Green story is worth retelling. While the Spurs found Kawhi Leonard on the San Diego State campus and ID’d him as Spurs material, even trading a player they loved, George Hill, to Indiana for the draft pick of Leonard, it took even Gregg Popovich awhile to figure out what he had in Green.

Here is the Green timeline:

Drafted by the Cavaliers in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft, after starting on North Carolina’s star-studded NCAA title team.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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