danny green

Green, 24, admits to pinching himself every now and again, and for different reasons. Sometimes he does it because he’s playing for Gregg Popovich and with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. (When he was growing up, Green said, he had a Duncan jersey.) Other times, it’s because his road here left Green thinking the NBA wasn’t in his future.

The Cavaliers drafted Green in the second round in 2009 and cut him before the start of the 2010-11 season. The Spurs picked him up and waived him two weeks later. He played for three D-League teams, and for Union Olimpija in Slovenia during the 2011 lockout.

“When I got cut from Cleveland, they weren’t one of the best teams in the NBA at the time, so I had some doubts,” Green said. “I didn’t think I was going to get back into the league. I wasn’t sure it was going to happen for me. When I was let go from here the first time, teams weren’t calling. I didn’t think it was going to ever happen then. I was home for two months and I didn’t know what was going on.”

Green might be the perfect embodiment of the Spurs. They’re a team that gets little publicity, is overlooked or underappreciated, and thrives through hard work, dedication and following the game plan.

– Reported by Al Iannazzone of New York Newsday