There has been a lot of chatter about who is the best defender in basketball. As if anyone who watches the Golden State Warriors was wondering, it is still Draymond Green.
It’s easy to overlook the contributions Green has made to the NBA. His versatility on both ends of the floor played just as big of a role in changing the game as Stephen Curry’s incredible 3-point shooting.
Without Green, there would be no Splash Brothers. Well, Curry and Klay Thompson would still be historically great shooters — but they wouldn’t be competing for championships.
How many copycats have we seen emerge since the Warriors won their first title? Dynamic duos are paired in the backcourt all of the time nowadays. Yet, none of them have captured the ever-elusive championship.
Why? Because no one has been able to replicate Draymond (and, matching the Splash Brothers is no easy task, either).
Draymond Green, even after years of being in the shadows, remains the best defender in basketball and the heart of Golden State Warriors basketball.
In many ways, Draymond took the Dennis Rodman mold and modernized it. He’s the guy who has no problem doing the dirty work. Except, he’s added a bit of flair and mastery to it that no one before him, and no one since Draymond, has been able to emulate.
That is to say, Green is a basketball genius. Whether it be strategically forcing opponents into weaknesses they didn’t even know they had — or zipping passes to the two greatest shooters in league history with precision — Green’s IQ has elevated him above the rest.
This season has served as the ultimate representation of Green’s value. Without him in the lineup, both Thompson and Curry feel into shooting slumps. Curry shot just 36.7% from deep without Green (38.8% with him) while Klay shot 37.3% without Green (40% with Green).
Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson 3-point percentage with and without Draymond this season:
- Curry – 36.7% without (38.8% with Green)
- Thompson – 37.3% without (40.05 with Green)
All of that is great but where Draymond has really been Draymond is the defensive end. Given the task of checking the seven-foot two-time MVP, Nikola Jokic, Draymond has risen to the occasion.
Jokic might have scored 37 points but it was Draymond who made the game-sealing play by picking his pocket in the crucial moment. It is also Draymond who has been harassing Jokic and making every play as difficult as possible for the big man.
The Warriors are in a position to sweep the Denver Nuggets and embark on a deep playoff run. As expected, Green is the driving force behind their success.