Golden State Warriors: Is Draymond Green actually a Top 10 player?

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12: Draymond Green
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12: Draymond Green /

The Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green was ranked the tenth best player in the NBA by Sports Illustrated. Is that accurate?

Recently, Sports Illustrated came out with a top 100 list of the best NBA players headed into next season. They had three Golden State Warriors players in the top 10. I will dive specifically into no. 10 since that is the spot that is occupied by the Warriors jack-of-all-trades forward Draymond Green.

The other nine players selected in front of Green in order are the Cavaliers’ LeBron James, the Warriors’ Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, the Rockets’ James Harden, the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, the Rockets’ Chris Paul, the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, and the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo. Those are quite the collaboration of talents ahead of Green and each one of those players deserves to be in front of him because of talent and/or impact.

Now, let’s look at the players behind Green, which include Jimmy Butler of the Timberwolves, Paul George of the Thunder, John Wall of the Wizards, Karl-Anthony Towns of the Timberwolves, Rudy Gobert of the Jazz, Gordon Hayward of the Celtics, Damian Lillard of the Blazers, Mike Conley of the Grizzlies, Kyle Lowry of the Raptors and Klay Thompon, his teammate.

I can dissect this any way, but Green makes more of an impact on both ends of the floor than more than half of the players behind him. Without looking at stats, for now, there are three players behind Green who could potentially be #10 on the list and they are Butler, George, and Wall. The impact all three of those players make on both ends is undeniable.

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Butler is one of the best two-guards in the league who has a nice offensive game of the mid-range jumper and drives to the basket and defense that only rivals Green’s teammate, Thompson. George is similar to Butler, but as a small forward position, who has a near-complete offensive game and active arms and lateral quickness to defend elite players. Wall is one of the best point guards in the league because of his pass-first mentality, point scoring abilities, and quickness that allows him to defend at a high level.

Now, Green being the tenth best player on this list has nothing to do with stats compared to these other players. Green’s overall impact for his team makes him tenth on the list. He is the “heartbeat” of this Warriors team as Warriors announcer Bob Fitzgerald has called him so many times throughout his career. Green is the escape valve on offense when Curry gets double-teamed near half court. He becomes another playmaker and decision maker on the offensive end with the threat to pass to a wide-open shooter, throw a lob, or eventually finish the play himself.

On the defensive end, Green is a terror with the uncanny ability to switch onto every position and come from the weak side to block players. Green is the ultimate help defender on the team. If all of his teammates stay glued to their man, he could play center field and deflect passes and come up with steals.

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This video is a perfect example of what Green embodies on the defensive end. He shows his toughness, ability to defend multiple positions even in the same possession, and contest the attempt that leads to a Lillard miss.

The impact on both ends of the floor is why Green is the ultimate glue guy for the NBA champs. He’ll be the escape valve and playmaker on one end and the defensive stopper on the other. Although he might get riled up sometimes and kick his leg unnecessarily, Green is the jack-of-all-trades player in the middle of the two-time NBA Champion. He ultimately deserves the no. 10 spot on the Sports Illustrated Top 100 players going into the 2017-2018 season.