Should the Philadelphia 76ers look at moving Danny Green before the trade deadline?
When the Philadelphia 76ers signed Danny Green to a two-year $20 million contract at the start of the 2021 season, the hope was to get two more years of solid basketball out of the 34-year old, 12-year veteran.
At the time, there was a sense of relief that the 76ers would be bringing back a key piece of their roster, which helped provide above average perimeter shooting and spacing on a team that finished first place in the Eastern Conference last year. However this year, things have begun to sour with Danny Green in the city of Philadelphia.
Green’s scoring averages are as low as they’ve been in a decade, averaging just 6.8 points per game. His three point percentage has fallen three percent since last year, down to 37.5 percent and to make things worse, he’s taking less attempts per game this season.
While we have witnessed Green’s numbers drop in almost every single category, the most notable change in Danny Green’s name is the lack of athleticism he brings the Sixers on the court, night in and night out.
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Just think about the fact that Danny Green is a small forward. It’s extremely rare that a starting small forward in the NBA does not play above the rim. If Danny Green dunks, it surprises everyone inside the Wells Fargo Center (including myself) and that makes it difficult to play a modern style of basketball if your wings are at a constant athletic disadvantage.
The Ben Simmons Effect
The 76ers used to rely heavily on Green’s ability to space the floor and defend on the perimeter. With the absence of Ben Simmons, the primary defensive assignment every night falls on Green’s shoulders and as I already mentioned, Green is getting older and his athleticism is definitely not what it used to be. He struggles to keep up with the NBA’s elite wings and guards on a nightly basis.
On the offensive side of the ball, Green is hurting without the facilitation of an elite passer like Simmons, and without having offense being created for him with fast breaks and allowing him be a hawk on the perimeter for set, open shots, he has struggled offensively through 38 game this year.
Green, at his best, was a perfect fit alongside Simmons, but with an imminent trade on the horizon, it seems like there needs to be a replacement at the small forward position. The Sixers starting lineup is in dire need of athleticism, and with Green starting at the three this problem is exacerbated. I know that athletic wings who shoot 38% or better from three don’t grow on trees, but we’d be lying to ourselves if we said there weren’t better options available.
Again, it’s not all Danny Green’s fault. He was brought back to fit a certain role in this offense that is honestly, no longer available. Much like other players on this Sixers team (Tobias Harris), Green has been thrusted into a position that wasn’t really designed for him.
Looking Ahead // Other Options on the Roster
The 76ers would be better off clearing cap space in the coming months if they plan on completing a roster renovation this offseason. I would much rather see Matisse Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz get more time than Danny Green this season, so why even keep him around?
The Sixers have a plethora of guards and to be fair, Green is more suited to play the two and at this point in his career, and the two would be coming off the bench in a reduced role. The only issue is that there still isn’t a clear replacement for him in the starting lineup. Furkan Korkmaz, although better as of late, went through a month-long slump where he was almost unplayable.
That leaves you with Matisse Thybulle.
Process to Progress: Danny Green and Matisse Thybulle
As we touched on in the latest episode of Process to Progress, Matisse Thybulle is probably the best option, but he has struggled to find consistency on the offensive side of the court. Thybulle has grown in certain areas offensively and is finding a stride as a reliable cutter around the basket. We have also started to see some success offensively when he’s used in the dunker spot and can clearly see that he has incredible quickness to the rim when he catches the ball.
I would much rather watch Thybulle continue to grow than have Danny Green eat those minutes.
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Philadelphia has started toying around with replacing Danny Green in the lineup, and to give credit to Green he has handled it with veteran grace.
This article is not to say that he doesn’t provide useful attributes to this team, but Father Time is undefeated and it seems like he has started to win the battle with Danny Green.
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY SPORTS