Danny Green on passing Larry Bird in career 3-pointers: ‘Mind-boggling’

Instead of discussing a career milestone after the San Antonio Spurs’ 114-95 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday,Danny Green talked about the opening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and his search for what he called a Jedi Knight hoodie.

Then a reporter made Green aware he’d passed Hall of Famer Larry Bird in career 3-pointers, inquiring whether the accomplishment blew the guard’s mind.

“That is mind-boggling,” said Green, who has 651 career 3-pointers to Bird’s 649. “I did not know that. I think it’s probably because he didn’t have a 3-point line the whole time. Is that true? Did Larry have a 3-point line his whole career?”

Actually, the NBA introduced the 3-point line during the 1979-80 season, which coincidentally was Bird’s rookie year. The fact is teams played the game differently during Bird’s era than today. The most 3-pointers Bird ever knocked down in a season was 90 during the 1986-87 season, which led the NBA.

Green surpassed the century mark in 3-pointers on four occasions, and connected on 191 during the 2014-15 campaign. What’s more is Golden State’sStephen Curry entered Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns having hit 127 shots from 3-point range in only 25 games, while five other players around the league entered games having hit at least 70 3-pointers.

“I’ve seen some highlights [of Bird],” said Green, who actually surpassed Bird during Saturday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks. “I’m surprised that I’m even in that conversation. Larry, obviously, I [didn't] think I’d ever reach him in anything.”

Green nailed only one of five attempts from 3-point range against the Wizards to finish the game with seven points, and the truth is the six-year veteran is fighting through a shooting slump.

In the four previous seasons as a starter, Green made between 41.5 percent and 43.6 percent of his 3-pointers, benefiting from catch-and-shoot opportunities provided by San Antonio’s offense. Green was nearly as accurate on catch-and-shoot jumpers marked as “guarded” by Synergy Sports as “unguarded” attempts, but currently he’s making 3-pointers at a 29.7 percent clip, which is starting to become concerning.

Green mentioned in November “it’s not easy” to weather a shooting slump.

“It takes some years of maturity, of being in this league and being a professional. Obviously my coaches encourage me. My teammates encourage me every day. They’ll tell me not to worry about it and shoot the next one,” Green said. “They believe every time I shoot it that it’s going in. It took me a couple of years to not worry about it so much, and [not] put so much pressure on it. [I] just do other things: rebound, play defense, get steals, block some shots, run transition, open up the floor. My job out there is to space the floor, to be a threat.

“Either way, I’ve got to take the shot so that they are aware of me, and I’m a threat out there. It spaces the floor for Tony [Parker] and LaMarcus [Aldridge] and everybody else to work in the paint.”

 

By: Michael Wright, ESPN

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