For eight seasons, Danny Green seized with all his heart the priceless experience of being a Spur. With the franchise holding such high regard about teamwork, culture and winning habits, San Antonio molded him to become one of best role players ever.
As such, with Victor Wembanyama set to land his foot and consider Texas as his new home, the veteran fully knows that the French wunderkind is destined to enjoy a silver and black development program masterminded by one of the best coaches in league history, and further glorified by plenty of the game’s all-time greats.
“[He’s in] unbelievable hands. I think it’s a perfect place for him just to learn how to be a professional even if it was a system or a city that’s been losing some,” said the swingman about Wembanyama in his Inside the Green Room podcast. “I think Pop is the perfect person to coach this young man. Obviously he got ties with Tony [Parker], he listens to him. Boris [Diaw] who’s been there, you got Tim Duncan in your backyard, that doesn’t hurt, and David Robinson.
“All these greats that are there. I know Timmy is not a big fan of coaching but he will be around to help player development and teaching certain guys.”
After striking the franchise-altering luck and capturing the treasured first overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft, San Antonio is poised to choose a once in a generation prospect in Victor Wembanyama.
Wembanyama, 19, gained worldwide attention with his hybrid physical tendencies and jaw dropping skill set. Standing at seven-foot-three, the young big man has an out of this world talent and potential with combination of size, speed, scoring and versatility.
Albeit already being hailed as a soon-to-be megastar, Green still believes that coach Gregg Popovich will apply his stern approach to make Wembanyama be more prudent despite already possessing a loaded package of abilities and basketball wonder
“Pop, he’s a military, discipline guy. He’s not gonna let you loosed,” he said. “I know he may think or the stigma is French players come over too cool or think they’re the greatest. I think he did an amazing job with Tony, why not do it in this big and also Timmy.”
In this generation that the league is already owned by the players’ conditions, Popovich and the Spurs still operate with that old school system.
The entire San Antonio organization in this modern era has been running through Popovich. The 74-year-old mentor saw all the sunshines and rainy days of the franchise since inheriting their coaching mantle in 1996.
Popovich knitted the Spurs’ contemporary history from being one of the best basketball dynasties highlighted by five NBA titles, up to this day that they are building up for a bright future with Wembanyama assumed to be as the primary building block.
As special as he is while absorbing that global sports attention, Wembanyama will still undergo a necessary mentorship and a humbling growth process for that collective achievement under Popovich and the Spurs according to Green.
“I think he’ll find a way to humble him a little bit, but at the same time, let him be himself and be great and [teach him] how to play with his teammates and know that the game is bigger than him and you’re gonna need your teammates to win,” Green said about Popovich’s potential management on Wembanyama. “Certain coaches may not coach that way. They let their star players do whatever they want. But Pop is gonna let him know, ‘You need these guys to be great, and they need you to be great, so you can’t let them down,’ and vice versa.
“He’s gonna to hold you to be a player, he’s hold your standard of not cutting any corners, not missing any assignments. Regardless of who you are, he’s the same cuss with everybody so be prepared, young fella. You’re for a great, great journey. But it’s not gonna be easy.”
After 20-plus years of sustained prestige, Wembanyama is set to open the door for a bright future of the new San Antonio basketball.
Wembanyama will soon carry the torch of the franchise that was once proudly lifted by the great Tim Duncan.
Duncan, one of the most respected and admired players of the game, graced the court with such simplicity and dominance. He served as the heart of the Spurs’ five championships, and the sky high bar, leadership and humility he raised as the team’s former cornerstone is already enough for Wembanyama to dare try to surpass.
“Tim Duncan is the standard,” he said. “For Pop and the Spurs locker room, Tim Duncan is the standard. He is the superstar that doesn’t think or act like a superstar. He’s the most humble, down to earth guy that doesn’t treat like he’s bigger than the game and doesn’t cut corners. He’s going to find ways to win games whatever it is.
“But [Pop] is going to polish him to make him to be what he potentially could be, but also following that standard of how Timmy carried the torch by not acting like he was a superstar.”