Barring any injuries or other unforeseen events, the Los Angeles Lakers should again rely primarily on superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis as they enter the 2019-20 NBA season restart with a guaranteed playoff berth. But with guard Avery Bradley sitting out the rest of the season due to family concerns, a recent report suggested that one of the Lakers’ key role players — guard/forward Danny Green — could make a big difference for the team, particularly during postseason play.
In a list of possible “X-factor” players for the 16 likeliest teams to make this year’s playoffs, Bleacher Report‘s Mandela Namaste prefaced his entry for the Lakers by writing that Bradley’s decision to sit out the restart is “quietly very important.” While he wasn’t a big scorer for Los Angeles this season, the 29-year-old’s outside shooting and defense against point guards “helped provide a high defensive floor” for the team, thus making him a significant loss heading into the playoffs.
Considering how the Lakers might be “in trouble” if they have to depend on backup guards such as Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo, or Quinn Cook, Namaste suggested that Green could be the player to replace Bradley’s contributions as a defender and long-range shooter.
“Green hasn’t defended point guards much this year, but he’s got a great recent history against the league’s best. [Golden State Warriors guard] Stephen Curry shot just 28.6 percent from the field with Green on him in last year’s Finals, while [Houston Rockets guard] James Harden has matched that putrid percentage this regular season.”
Fresh off an NBA championship victory with the Toronto Raptors, Green signed with the Lakers as a free agent in the summer of 2019. The 33-year-old has started in all of the 61 games he has played so far this season, tallying averages of 8.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game and shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from beyond the arc, per Basketball-Reference.
In addition to his reputation as a top three-and-D player, Green’s track record as a key player for title contenders was mentioned as another reason why he could serve as the Lakers’ secret weapon of sorts in the postseason. As further pointed out by Bleacher Report’s Namaste, the former second-team All-Defensive selection had played for two other championship teams in his collegiate and pro career — the 2008-09 University of North Carolina Tar Heels and the 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs.
As previously noted by The Inquisitr, the Lakers had a 49-14 record and had already clinched an automatic playoff spot at the time the NBA suspended operations in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.