Before the San Antonio Spurs narrowly escaped a 92-91 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, I caught up with current Mavs forward and former North Carolina Tar Heel Brandan Wright.
Wright played one season at North Carolina in 2006-2007. One of his teammates during that tenure was Spurs shooting guard Danny Green, who attended North Carolina from 2005-2009.
In this Project Spurs exclusive interview, Wright spoke of the transformation Green has made from his days at UNC to the NBA.
“He’s just been working hard,” said Wright of Green, “He’s been doing a lot of things to improve his game. He started out in the D-League and he was cut a few times, but he found a home down here in San Antonio and I’m very happy for him.”
Green is currently in his fourth season where he’s scoring a career high 10.7 points per game, and shooting both career highs in field goal percentage (46%), and 3-point percentage (44%). Wright spoke of Green’s transformation to an elite shooter.
“He was a good shooter in college,” said Wright, “now he’s a great shooter. You can’t leave him open. He’s knocking that three down with consistency. You can’t leave him open or he’ll rise up on you. He’s one of the best 3-point shooters in the league.”
As for his defense, Green has shown his ability to guard different players on the perimeter like Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, and even small forwards. Wright said Green has always been able to defend different positions, as Green is averaging a career high 1.2 steals per game.
“Yeah, he’s always been versatile,” continued Wright, “He’s always been one of those guys who can guard different positions on the perimeter. I can’t speak to how much he has improved from UNC to now in his career. He’s done a lot of good things thus far.”
Though Green’s statistics jump in multiple categories in his career this season, his biggest test will come in April, May, and possibly June when the Spurs are in the playoffs. Green’s end to the playoffs last season was of concern as he struggled to knock down shots against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals and he eventually found himself on the bench as the Spurs were upset by the Thunder 4-2 in the series.
This year in the playoffs, Green will have his chance to either change his playoff reputation, or be known as just a good regular season player.