Spurs sprint in sweltering summer
There was an interesting tweet from the Express-News’ Jeff McDonald yesterday:
Spotted on a local HS track, running conditioning drills in triple-digit South Texas heat: Tim Duncan, James Anderson, Danny Green. #spurs
A couple of things about this.
First, as Tom Ziller of SB Nation pointed out, isn’t Tim Duncan a little far along in his career to be running sprints in the afternoon Texas heat? Would you blame him if he was relaxing his 35-year-old knees on a beach in the Virgin Islands? In July? During a lockout?
No, instead Duncan is out there with a couple of the young guys, teaching them how to be hard workers in this league. It’s really a trickle down effect, much like the impact he’s had working with Gregg Popovich.
Coach Pop has been a exponentially more effective coach in the NBA because Tim Duncan has allowed himself to be coached. If you’re Danny Green and Coach Pop is yelling at you, there’s nothing you can say because 15 minutes ago Pop yelled at Tim Duncan for missing a defensive rotation. You’re saying Pop can’t yell at you like that, but with the greatest power forward of all-time he can? /Hubie Brown voice
And when Tim Duncan is out on a track running sprints in 101 degree heat, despite owning two MVPs, three NBA Finals MVPs and the respect of everyone in the league, Green and James Anderson better be out there as well.
Second, I think this is as good a sign as any that Green will be in training camp and preseason with the Spurs once the lockout is over. Though he’s mentioned going overseas if the lockout persists, his preference is the NBA.
I’m anticipating a similar situation to the one Garrett Temple was in last year. Temple impressed the coaching staff in his limited minutes with the Spurs two years ago and earned himself a temporary call-back. Unfortunately for Temple and the Spurs, the competition for the third-string point guard spot seemed to be too much for Temple and he struggled.
Green appeared in just eight regular season games for the Spurs last season, but he did things the coaching staff wanted to see in his limited minutes. He shot 37% from 3-point range and was an enthusiastic defender. Green is 6’6″ in height but was measured with a 6’10″ wingspan at the NBA Draft Combine. His defensive numbers are extremely limited, but according to Synergy Sports, when defending the ball handler on six pick-and-roll situations Green held his man to 1-4 shooting and forced a turnover.
If Green can handle the pressure of battling for a roster spot, I would expect the team to keep him around as a young, cheap piece for depth purposes. For a player who may only play five minutes every other game outside of garbage time, you could do a lot worse. Like Ime Udoka.