Atlanta Hawks: Signing Danny Green Makes Sense in Free Agency

Danny Green Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Danny Green Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Detailing why the Atlanta Hawks signing Danny Green this offseason would make sense for the team in the short-term.

Though the Atlanta Hawks are not enjoying the fruits of playoff success, hopes are high that the excellent first year for head coach Lloyd Pierce as well as terrific rookie campaigns from Trae Young and Kevin Huerter will lead the team to the promised land of the Eastern Conference postseason sooner rather than later.

However, even with the Hawks not playing, General Manager Travis Schlenk is likely pondering multiple free agents that are plying their trade in the postseason and looking to add them via free agency.

A major area where the Atlanta Hawks desperately need an upgrade is in the backcourt. Of court, Young and Huerter are well-entrenched there, but the team needs defensive help at either the one or two.

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One player in the playoffs who matches the description of “defensive backcourt help” is Danny Green of the Toronto Raptors.

Green is battle-tested during his playoff runs with the San Antonio Spurs, and he has long been a sturdy three-and-D archetype at the two guard. During the 2018-19 season, Green was exceptional.

In 80 games for Toronto, Green shot a career-high 45.5 percent from deep on a near-career-high 69 percent three-point attempt rate. He also got up 435 three-point attempts, which was also nearly a career-high.

Green’s number also look gorgeous when looked at through the lens of ESPN’s real plus/minus metric. Green was 12th in the league with a 5.08 RPM, which was just behind Kevin Durant and head of players such as Rudy Gobert, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving and even his teammate Kawhi Leonard.

Green was even better in BBall Index’s player impact plus/minus metric, which filters out luck and relies less on team performance. Green was 11th in the league PIPM at 4.5, which was directly ahead of players such as LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Draymond Green and, again, his own teammate Kawhi.

While these numbers might not mean much out of context, it’s clear that Green’s impact on the Atlanta Hawks as a defensive unit would be monumental. But would the team be willing to offer him a meatier contract than any other team in unrestricted free agency? Would Green even want to play in the ATL?

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Who knows the answer to those questions, but Green’s steady, mistake-free play typifies a Spurs veteran, and the Atlanta Hawks could use that as they look to take the next step in their rebuild. Think of it as equivalent to the J.J. Redick addition that the 76ers made two years ago.