Danny Green
Danny Green has been the Raptors most important player. The Numbers do not lie #WeTheNorth (Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports)

The Kawhi Leonard trade was scrutinized beyond belief but the Raptors have become clear winners. Of course, you needed only to have a brain to believe that in the first place once the trade was consummated. The Raptors have soared to the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference and have a real shot to go to the NBA Finals. The Spurs on the flip side have been hovering in the 8th seed thanks to known cancer DeMar DeRozan. While Leonard has had a huge impact on the Raptors, the most important player in the deal and on the team has turned out to be Danny Green.

Sometimes, all a team needs is that one missing role player to glue it all together. Danny Green fits that description. The Raptors have a star in Kawhi Leonard. Another All-Star in Kyle Lowry. They also have Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and Pascal Siakam who play their part. What the Raptors never had was a knock down three point shooter who can play defense on the other end of the floor. That ability has turned the baby dinosaurs of the past and turned them into full blown blood savage Raptors.

Green is knocking down 43 percent of his 3-point attempts. He’s also the secondary defender who can take away the weapon that Kawhi isn’t guarding. In a way, they took the Spurs young core when they were winning championships and put younger, deeper pieces around them. Danny Green embodies that Spurs intelligence who has turned into a really smart player. The numbers frankly do not lie when it comes to Green’s importance.

  • Green ON FLOOR: +11.8 points per 100 possessions
  • Green OFF FLOOR: -5.3 points per 100 possessions

That’s an enormous 17 point swing. Just think about that. 17 point swing between having Green on the floor and off the floor. For comparison, Giannis Antetokounmpo has a +7.7 swing. LeBron James has had a +7 point swing. Green is dropping his balls on the table with a +17 point swing whether he’s on the court compared to off.

Green isn’t just helping the team win. His teammates also play a hell of a lot better when he is on the court. Probably because his spacing matters so much.

Danny Green
Danny Green is helping every single one of his teammates too

Okay, Okay… Green is obviously important but come on… you’re talking about a role player! No, my friends, I’m talking about much more. There’s another stat out there called win pace. Win pace sort of works the same way that on-off stats do. When Green plays, the Raptors play like a 68 win team. When Green doesn’t play, the Raptors play like a 28 win team. I would say this may be a fluky stat but Paul George and Kevin Durant rank first and second respectively in this stat. Danny Green comes in 3rd and is somehow responsible for 40 wins by himself if he were to play in every minute of every game.

Danny Green
How good is Danny Green? 40 wins good!

Will the Raptors win the East? If they do, they need Danny Green to keep bringing his A game and to obviously stay healthy. While Kawhi Leonard is expected to jolt this summer, Green can join him and is also scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency. The Raptors don’t just need Leonard to win. Danny Green has been their most important player and it’s frankly not close.