Day 1 of NBA free agency lived up to the hype. Players signed rich deals seemingly every 10 minutes or so as teams sought out security before the looming cap surge. Some deals were no-brainers (Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Draymond Green) while others were a bit puzzling (Tyson Chandler, Kyle Singler, Jonas Jerebko). Perhaps no players have benefitted more from the market of this free agency than the always-coveted 3-and-D players.
***Statistics from 2014-15 season***
Danny Green, DeMarre Carroll, Khris Middleton and Iman Shumpert all got long-term deals on Wednesday in at least double-figures in millions annually. This group of players are talented no doubt, but none of them are shot-creators who could be No. 1 options for an NBA team. I know 3-and-D players are as valuable as ever in the modern NBA, but each of these players receiving mega-deals was somewhat of a surprise. The fact that Green got the third-biggest contract among the group was an even bigger surprise.
Looking at last year’s numbers, Green leads the group in three-point percentage and PER while his outstanding Real Plus-Minus ranking of 12th overall is only behind Middleton. He’s the only member of the group without a noticeable downside.
Carroll got the richest deal at four years and $60 million with the Raptors, but he’s already 28 and rated poorly according to RPM. Shumpert got a four year, $40 million offer from the cash-happy Cavs despite shooting just 34.2 percent from behind the arc while playing good, but not great defense. Middleton was an advanced stats darling in his breakout season, but he appears to be a much less impressive player objectively. Green has been a stellar rotation player for a contending team for the past four seasons, making his four-year, $45 deal an immediate steal.
In a free agency where a recovering Wesley Matthews might get a deal in the ballpark of $12 million (or maybe more?), Green likely would’ve made much more than what he signed for had he tested the open market. He isn’t a good shooter, he’s an elite one:
17 guys have made 500+ 3s over last 4 seasons.
Only 5 of 'em have shot > 40%:
Curry, Klay, Korver, Redick … Danny Green. Elite of elite.
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) July 1, 2015
If you for some reason need more stats to know how good of a shooter he is, Green ranked ninth in the NBA in points per play in spot-up situations, per Synergy (min. 65 GP and 10 percent shot frequency from spot-up). An astounding 41.1 percent of Green’s plays were spot-ups, which ranked 11th in the league. Among those 11 players, only Jason Terry averaged more points per play. Green’s a money shooter who’s proven how lethal he is over time. That shot isn’t going away any time soon. His All-NBA level defense is just icing on the $45 million cake.
Green ranked seventh in the league in defensive RPM among shooting guards. He’s not extremely athletic or mobile, but he’s a smart defender who’s almost always in the right spot. He also rarely fouls and plays off the strengths of his teammates. His knack for blocking shots is among the best at his position, with only K.J. McDaniels blocking more shots per game at shooting guard last season than Green’s 1.07 per game. Green hasn’t latched onto an All-Defense team yet, but that figures to happen sometime in the near future.
The draw of San Antonio’s winning culture with Pops and Tim Duncan is hard for any player to pass up on. Green didn’t want to leave that anytime soon, hence the hometown discount, which also helps with the pursuit of LaMarcus Aldridge. The other 3-and-D signings on Wednesday can be viewed as overpays, but Green is as safe as a deal comes. He’s the epitome of a 3-and-D player and not merely just one of them. He’s worth much more than $11.25 million annually, and the Spurs have come out on top yet again.