The Golden State Warriors made a name for themselves this past season in part because of their heavy rotational use of three rookies on a competitive squad–Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green.
This trend became even more prominent in the playoffs when David Lee went down, with many thinking they would sunk. Anyone can point to Stephen Curry’s emergence or Jarrett Jack’s production off the bench as the reason for their success, but it was this trio of rookies that provided solid production beyond what they did in the regular season.
Green was a bit of a non-factor until playoffs. The thing most noted about him in his short stints on the floor (averaging 13.4 minutes per game during the regular season) was his offensive ineptitude, scoring 2.9 points per game on dismal percentages. He shot 32.7 percent from the floor and a awful 20.9 percent from three-point range. That being said, it’s only fair to note that offensive prowess isn’t what Green has been known for. The 23-year-old Michigan State product is more known for being a good defender and rebounder, things that the Warriors sorely needed at times during the year.
When playoffs rolled around, however, things became a different story. Lee went down, making Green’s role more important. he got bumped to a little over 18 minutes a game, and doubled his points per game to 5.8, while boosting his field goal percentages to far better numbers (42.9 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from distance). He also provided solid defense and rebounding.
However, there are some things that Green needs to work on this summer and fall in order to keep that production and to make himself a bigger factor on this team, which they will need severely, especially if Carl Landry opts out of his $4 million player option.
1. Shooting Consistency
As already noted, his pecentages all year were lackluster to say the least. That can’t happen again, especially with the impending loss of Landry and/or Jarrett Jack. He needs to step up his offensive game. That means practicing his three-point shooting and his floor shooting.
The Warriors, who have a heavy diet of perimeter shooting, a player with his rebounding and defensive skills could benefit a great deal from another good shooter. If he can turn himself into, say, a eight to 10 points per game role player, it could do a lot for this squad
2. Inside Offensive Play
Again, Green is doing just fine on rebounding, averaging more rebounds per game than points during the season (3.3 to 2.9, respectively). However, he doesn’t play around the rim as well as he should. He isn’t the fastest player, but he has a fair amount of athleticism and stands 6’7″, weighing 230.
Green isn’t a small player by any means, so he needs to improve his finishing skills down below and learn to use his size more effectively on offense to complement his rebounding.
3. Ball Handling
Green averaged only one turnover per game, but keep in mind that that he played in less than 14 minutes per game, so there’s less room for him to make errors. Per 48 minutes, that comes out to 2.3. It’s not a terrible stat, but they tended to be foolish mistakes during the year, added to the fact that he wasn’t called upon many times to hold the ball.
However, coming times will call on him to have to handle the rock more often, meaning that his skills there need to improve. If he works hard on his dribbling and security, it could nicely round out a budding skill set to make Green a much more prominent threat on the court.
Green played a good year as far as the skills that the Warriors expected from him. He displayed a good IQ for the game, worked hard every second of his playing time, played solid defense on a squad that’s known for its lack of stopping power and provided an above average rebounder off the bench.
As you might notice, all three of the game sections he needs to work on boil down to making him a greater offensive threat. That is because improvement of that dimension of his game would give him a huge boost in value, and make this team much more of a threat to anyone else in the league.
With the Warriors losing some of their veteran impact players this offseason, Green will need to make himself much more well-rounded in order for the team to have another good season. Add that to the fact that he has this much potential on top of his youth and how cheap he is to the front office right now, and there’s a lot of promise here.
This is his first offseason in the NBA as part of a surprise competitor team. If he uses is right, he might just make himself the surprise of the Warriors in the 2013-14 season.