Green’s Return Brings Questions for Memphis


Not eight months removed from an ACL/LCL tear, Danny Green announced Wednesday morning his plans to return to action.

His target date? Tonight, against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Now, what exactly does this mean for the Grizzlies?

There are several paths laid out in front of them. Do they roll the ball and hope that he can provide bench scoring that the Grizzlies desperately need? Is Memphis content with utilizing Green’s veteran presence off the bench? Do they trade him?

Once he makes his debut, the Grizzlies will have four games to evaluate him before the trade deadline. What happens during this four game stretch will be extremely telling in what Memphis plans to do with Danny Green.

Danny Green, the Missing Piece

“What I bring is definitely needed here: perimeter shooting and perimeter defense.”

Path number one is probably the most ideal path for Memphis. However, it’s also extremely dependent on how Green looks upon his return.

The Grizzlies hope that he’s able to both knock down threes and guard the perimeter at a consistent level. If he can return to action and look like he’s not dropped a step, that’s a boon for this team.

When looking back on Green’s career, it’s hard not to get your hopes up.

He’s shot over 33% from three every year except for his rookie season in 2009. That’s practically the definition of consistency from beyond the arc.

With an All-Defensive Team honor also under his belt, his defensive acumen is something that would undoubtedly help this team, as well.

Now, Green hasn’t played meaningful basketball since last May. Take his last two full seasons with Philadelphia, though, and you see a player who would fit seamlessly with this Memphis bench unit.

In his two seasons with the Sixers, Green averaged 7.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game on 40.5/39.5/77.8 shooting splits. The only player on the Memphis bench who is sinking their threes at this rate is Tyus Jones.

If Green is able to return to form just eight months removed from surgery, his presence on this bench unit would be huge.

A bench group of Jones, Green, Aldama and BC with either Jitty, Z, or Roddy in that last spot could be deadly for the Grizzlies.

They key word here is COULD.

It’s not quite wishful thinking that he’ll return to form, but it may be asking a lot for someone who is 35 years old.

Danny Green, the Veteran Leader

“I think I can bring maturity and help a young team understand what it takes to win.”

This is the role where Green will probably be best utilized for this group.

Memphis is in desperate need of an adult in the room. Someone who has been there before and knows what it takes to win a championship.

Green undoubtedly checks these boxes. He’s a three-time NBA champion after all, having won rings with the Spurs, Raptors, and Lakers.

At 35 years old he’s also far and away the elder statesman on the Grizzlies’ roster.

Steven Adams is the next closest at 29. Adams is also the next closest thing to a veteran presence on this team. It’s easy to forget that Steve-O had 59 career playoff games before coming to Memphis.

But he was never able to win a ring, whereas Green has three.

Green would even hold the record for most threes made in an NBA Finals game for a time before Stephen Curry came along.

There’s absolutely no denying that the dude has the pedigree.

If this roster is serious about winning a championship, having someone of Green’s caliber may be exactly what this young Memphis team needs.

Danny Green, the Trade Asset

“They’ve respected me and respected that I have a résumé, a viewpoint and perspective based on what I’ve experienced.”

Danny Green understands his value.

So do the Memphis Grizzlies. Green’s the kind of player that would make any competing team’s roster better because of the experience he brings.

He’s also the kind of player that any tanking team would want if they were hoping to take on someone’s salary. Green’s contract currently pays him ten million per year.

It’s the type of contract that, when paired with a draft pick or two, makes for an extremely solid trade package.

The Grizzlies front office know this. Heck, it seems like everyone knows this.

It’s the type of package that could net Memphis a player that truly moves the needle for them.

Should Green return from injury and perform significantly lower than the player he was previously, his time in Memphis may be short.

Will the Grizzlies ultimately trade the vet? Based on their recent history around the trade deadline, most likely not.

Nevertheless, it’s a very viable option and one the team must at least consider.

Danny Green, the Roster Enigma

“This is a place I hope that I can call home for the next couple years.”

As it stands, there are no hints at what this team plans to do with Danny Green.

And that’s the beauty of the position that the Grizzlies find themselves in. With uncertainty looming over the correct path forward, Memphis actually finds themselves with several possible correct answers.

He could very well come back as the ideal 3&D contributor, elevating this team above their competition. Or Green could be the perfect veteran voice, a calming presence amongst the noise.

Or there’s a chance he just doesn’t have it in what would be his 14th NBA season.

Either way, we’ll know in about two weeks’ time how the Memphis Grizzlies feel about Danny Green.


Check out the latest of our Grizz Moves series by Luke Hatmaker (@luketeno)What Role Players Would Round Out the Grizzlies’ Roster?. And be sure to check out the Grizz 901 Podcast, where the Grizz Lead guys get on to discuss the most recent games and much, much more!

Grizz Lead (@Grizz_Lead) / Twitter

About Luke Hatmaker

Luke is based out of Nashville, TN where he lives with his cat, Dr. Alan Grant. In addition to contributing to Grizz Lead, he is one of the hosts of the No Bluffin' Podcast for the Grizz 901 Podcast Network and is also a cast member the RPG Radio Show Podcast.

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