Draymond Green endorses defensive pairing amid Warriors' biggest conundrum

Golden State Warriors v San Antonio Spurs
Golden State Warriors v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

Jonathan Kuminga may have missed seven-straight games as he battle knee tendinitis, but the young forward remains the Golden State Warriors' biggest conundrum with five games remaining in the regular season.

While the 21-year-old was expected to return over the Warriors' recent back-to-back in Houston and Dallas, Kuminga was again on the sidelines as concern grows over the severity of his knee issue. Golden State have Saturday off, giving Kuminga further opportunity to prove his fitness before Sunday's game at home against the Utah Jazz.

Draymond Green has spoken on the advantage of pairing with Trayce Jackson-Davis in the Golden State Warriors' new-look starting five

The Warriors have started Trayce Jackson-Davis in Kuminga's absence, pushing Draymond Green back to his usual power-forward role. The move has paid dividends with Golden State looking far steadier through a more traditional four-five combination.

Speaking to The Athletic's Anthony Slater after the win over the Rockets on Thursday, Green explained the flexibility that Jackson-Davis provides him on the defensive side of the ball.

" It allows me to take more chances. Not necessarily chances gambling for a steal, but to clog the paint up, make extra rotations...The things that I do off of instinct."

Draymond Green

The former Defensive Player of the Year has averaged one steal per game this season, yet in seven games since Jackson-Davis insertion to the starting five, that number has rose to 2.3 as Green does more of the instinctual things he's become so well known for.

The Warriors have ranked fourth in defensive rating over the last seven games, having conceded 110 or more points in just two of those games. It leaves a major question on what happens to Kuminga upon his return, with Golden State still looking to push above their current tenth-seed standing.

The former seventh overall pick has looked like the Warriors' second-best player at times over recent months, yet there appears to be no denying the defensive impact the Green-Jackson-Davis combination is producing at present.

It appears unlikely that Kuminga would now step straight back into a starting role, particularly if he's on any sort of minutes restriction upon return. However, after 29-straight starts before injury and a breakout season, Kuminga rightfully lays claim to a starting spot when up and running -- leaving Steve Kerr with a decision that could extend beyond the remainder of this season.