Draymond Green’s impact on the Golden State Warriors has long been recognized. He’s the hidden (although not so quiet) driving force behind their greatest moments. Without Green, the Dubs are simply not the Dubs.
That’s why the last few weeks have been so strange for the Warriors. Klay Thompson’s return in January was supposed to bring a tidal wave of momentum. Instead, the hype of seeing the Splash Brothers back together has been dimmed by the black hole left in Green’s absence.
It feels surreal to say it but we have not seen the Warriors at full strength since June 2019. Until Green returns, which appears to be soon, Golden State will be playing below their maximum power level.
There is no debating it, Draymond Green’s return will allow the Golden State Warriors to tap into their true potential as a title contender.
Green’s contributions to the Warriors have been cataloged for years. Rather than beating the same drum, let’s take a simplified look at what Green’s imminent return will mean for this current team.
We’ll start with Draymond’s bread and butter, defense.
The Warriors still hold the best Defensive Rating in the NBA overall but have fallen to just eighth in the league since Draymond exited the lineup.
Warriors DEF RTNG before and after Draymond’s injury (league rank)
- Before: 102.2 (1st)
- After: 108.1 (8th)
Green is a defensive mastermind and without him on the floor to direct traffic, it’s no wonder the Warriors have slid in this department. Once he returns, the dynamic of Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green will make for a terrifying collection of defenders.
The same goes for offense, where things just run smoother when Draymond is in the lineup. He’s built up an otherworldly amount of chemistry with Stephen Curry and is able to command the offense to a degree no one else on the roster is capable of.
Warriors assists before and after Draymond’s injury (league rank)
- Before: 28.2 (1st)
- After: 26.0 (8th)
The difference here might seem marginal but the value of someone who can lift your ceiling on both offense and defense is something that can’t be understated. Green is the missing key to a team that is already one of the favorites to win a title.
It’s been roughly a month since Green was healthy but he is ramping up for a return in March. This leaves plenty of runway for the Dubs to hit their stride and take off by the time playoffs start.