On February 4, 2011, current San Antonio Spurs sharpshooter, and NBA Finals star Danny Green played alongside some of the greatest talent ever to be assembled on a minor league basketball team. In fact, one of this teammates that evening went on to become a worldwide craze for an unimaginable stretch of games. As a member of the Reno Bighorns in the NBADL, Green, flanked by other future NBA players, made his mark on basketball history by becoming a member of arguably the best minor league team to ever play a game.
Green has developed into a tremendous player both offensively and defensively for the Spurs, and after his impressive NBA playoff run leading up to tonight's Game 7 in Miami, it seems like his NBA career is just now taking off. However, before he became a main concern for Miami in these Finals, Green spent 19 total games in the NBA D-League with three different clubs (Erie BayHawks, Austin Toros, Reno Bighorns).
Green averaged 20.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.0 block over 16 starts in 36.8 minutes. While in Reno, and under head coach Eric Musselman, Green averaged his highest amount of minutes as a D-League player, and also played alongside future NBA noteworthy talent.
In the 2011-2012 NBA D-League season, Musselman led the Los Angeles D-Fenders to the best record in NBADL history (38-12), but in a conversation with RidiculousUpside.com, Musselman spoke even higher about another one of his former NBADL teams. "The D-Fenders are the best team record-wise in the history of the league, but in that one game, that team was better." Musselman told RU.
The team Musselman referred to, was his Reno Bighorns squad that took on the Idaho Stampede on February 4, 2011 in Idaho. His starting five consisted of Donald Sloan, Danny Green, Marcus Landry, Anthony Richardson and Patrick O'Bryant. The sixth man that evening was Jeremy Lin, followed by Steve Novak, Salim Stoudamire, Mo Charlo and Doug Thomas. "The floor was so spaced it was incredible, I mean the shooters we had along with the toughness of each guy was something special, they truly were the best minor league team in history." Musselman added.
Both Danny Green and Steve Novak received Call-Ups from the Spurs later that season. The Bighorns won the contest 110-96 and shot 47% from beyond the arc. Novak went 5-for-7 from three point range, to go along with 8-for-10 shooting from the field. Green finished (+15) with a solid 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. Oh, and that sixth man Jeremy Lin, he scored 17 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and added 9 assists in 29 minutes. That trio alone would be difficult to defend for any NBA team right now.
Obviously, what made each of these players successful so far in their NBA careers has been derived from their desirable work ethic. Green is deserving of all the praise he's received as of late, and heading into Game 7 against arguably one of the greatest teams ever assembled in the NBA, the 25-year-old has an opportunity to be apart of something special at this stage in his career.
Green has no doubt solidified himself as an elite player in the NBA, but if he can have an impact on the deciding game of these NBA Finals, with the world watching, than his name will be included in yet another "greatest team ever" conversation.