4 MINUTE READ
IF you doubt that Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard will give it their all this upcoming season, you clearly do not understand what drives the two newest additions to the Toronto Raptors.
Green, who will be entering his 10th year of NBA service, was only included in the deal that sent hometown favorite DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio for Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard in order to match salaries. His résumé?
Third player ever to win the NCAA and NBA title.
Most three-point field goals in the NBA Finals.
NBA All-Defensive player.
San Antonio has been lamenting the loss of Green for his high character, as much as his ability on the court. The same can be said of Kawhi Leonard, at least prior to the mysterious cause of the break-up. They were known as high-character, low-maintenance, championship-level guys. The kind that would have a gym-rat of a player say,
‘Holy shit, I’ve been working my ass off, and it’s a C+’
– Richard Jefferson, on the Road Trippin Podcast, Episode 68 (of how young players perceive their own effort after watching how LeBron prepares)
It is inconceivable for a player to reach these heights of greatness without dedication to the game, and to their conditioning. It might not necessarily be out of respect to the Raptors, or even to the fans, but anything less than 100% would be going against their competitive nature.
Podcast: Inside the Green Room
If you’ve tuned into Danny Green’s first ever podcast, Inside the Green Room, you would’ve gotten a sense of his professionalism.
Well-spoken and thoughtful, Raptor fans should be delighted to have added a consummate professional to facilitate in fostering a championship culture in Toronto.
During his podcast, Green speaks about reality of ‘The Trade’ setting in, his approach to working out, and how he is viewing the upcoming season as an opportunity:
‘I already had plans to workout with the training staff, strength and conditioning coach. What do I do now? How do I plan ahead? Who do I contact?’
‘My biggest part in this play is to get Kawhi on board [rest of the young guys on board] let them know how to become a championship team. I’ve been to the finals a couple of times, so has Kawhi, and it is our job to help those guys to get to that stage, and hopefully make something special.’
– Danny Green
Green is taking it upon himself to a leader on and off the court, managing personalities and motivating his teammates. As great as Kawhi is, he prefers to let his game do the talking, as does Kyle Lowry.
One of Greg Popovich’s best pupils, Green might as well have served as assistant coach during his days in San Antonio – had he been less of a player and retired early, he would most certainly be on a coaching staff somewhere. His presence now as a highly-contributing player, possessing insight, experience, and IQ is a tremendous coup for the Toronto Raptors.
We have heard on numerous occasions how the legends of the game would have a level of preparedness that is an eye-opening experience for his teammates. Roy Halladay had a legendary work ethic that inspired the young pitchers he shared a clubhouse with. LeBron, Jordan, the list goes on.
Preparation wins championships; and young Raptors like OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Fred Van Vleet, and Delon Wright have fantastic examples to observe and learn from, in hopes of cultivating a championship culture in Toronto. If Kawhi and Green are a one-and-done, a rebuild would begin on sturdy shoulders.
Until then, hang on tight for what promises to be the Raptors’ most anticipated season yet.