No player on the San Antonio Spurs goes through ups and downs like Danny Green.
Green holds the NBA Finals record for 3-pointers made in a series with 27, beating Ray Allen‘s previous record of 22. In the first five games of this season, he’s made only five 3-pointers and is shooting 33.3 percent at that distance. Before his 8-for-11 performance against the Phoenix Suns Wednesday, his field goal percentage average was 26.1 percent.
This back-and-forth pattern of slumps and sharpshooting has been happening for quite some time now. So often that his nickname on Twitter is “IcyHot”. Check out what Paul Garcia of Project Spurs tweeted about Green in Wednesday night’s game against the Suns after a miss.
With that last three, Danny Green is now 2-of-9 from three for the season. He was great in the Finals, but his initial nickname was #IcyHot.
— Paul Garcia PS (@PaulGarciaPS) November 7, 2013
Garcia makes a point. The Spurs may not have reached seven games against the Miami Heat if it wasn’t for Green’s hot shooting, but can they deal with the Icy again? Will they even choose to?
The other outside shooter, Marco Belinelli, came to San Antonio this summer and has already shown chemistry and great shooting at 50 percent from behind the 3-point line in this early season. It’s a bit early to say Manu Ginobili has bounced back from the Finals, but he’s scoring more than Green in similar minutes, beating him in assists and steals and also provides a better slashing option overall.
With that in mind, Green often struggles to find other areas to produce when his outside shooting is taken away. His ballhandling skills are still subpar, he can’t create his own shot and his percentages get worse as he shoots closer to the basket. He still provides solid defense for the Spurs, but may see his touches on offense limited if he gives more icy than hot shooting nights.
However, if there’s anything that this slump combined with his nickname says, it’s that he’s bound to come up soon with a hot streak bring up his percentages. It may have started last night when he shot 72.7 percent against Phoenix.
Clearly his best game of the young season, Green made three 3-pointers, which is one more than his previous four games combined. Not only that, but he scored 10 points in the paint, an area he isn’t often asked to score from and was below the league average in shooting from last season.
His next chance to improve his shooting will come Friday when the Golden State Warriors come to the AT&T Center in San Antonio. This game can come down to which team can out-shoot the other down the stretch.
Aside from that, it’s possible that looking into the IcyHot nickname this early in the season is premature. Head coach Gregg Popovich is a man of few words with the media, but perhaps his take on this early slump correctly sums up how to feel about it currently.
Pop tonight, on five games in seven nights: Ridiculous. Jeff Hornaceck: I hate Jeff Hornacek. (kidding) On Green’s slump: I don’t care.
— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) November 7, 2013