No. 7: Draymond Green
Right off the bat, it’s possible that Draymond Green is multiple spots too low on this list. He is one of maybe five players with a legitimate claim to being the best defensive player in the history of the NBA, and the difficulty in quantifying defensive impact could be severely underrating Green’s impact on the Warriors and the NBA.
Green’s career is all the more impressive when you factor in that he was a second-round pick, a doughy undersized big without a jumpshot. Then he fought his way into the rotation, was accelerated into the starting lineup by a David Lee injury, and never looked back as the defensive linchpin to one of the greatest dynasties in modern sports history.
The individual accolades are not as clear. Green is a four-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA selection, the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year and an eight-time All-Defense selection. Yet he was also a starter on six NBA Finals teams, including four championships, and was the key player in one of the greatest five-man lineups in NBA history, the vaunted “Death Lineup.”
Three times in his career Green has led the playoff field in Defensive Box Plus-Minus, and he is the shining example of a “16-game player” who has elevated his impact in the postseason. He is a solid passer with synergistic chemistry with Stephen Curry, a smart cutter and screen-setter, and he has been a positive on offense.
On defense, however, Green defined modern basketball and helped lead the Warriors to four titles. His lack of scoring and emotional outbursts will likely lead to a tarnishing on his legacy, which is a shame for such a talented, smart and special player.