If Golden State Warriors' fans haven't successfully wiped Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals from their memory, they'll vividly remember Draymond Green putting on a shooting clinic to keep his team in the contest.
Green, who had shot a career-high 38.8% on 3.2 attempts from deep during that regular season, went 6-8 from beyond the arc (including 4-4 in the second-quarter) on his way to a team-high 32 points. His performance on that night would have been legendary if not for the Cleveland Cavaliers' victory that sealed their comeback from a 3-1 deficit.
Veteran forward Draymond Green may be shooting the ball at a career-high level, but it's not something the Golden State Warriors should be relying upon to win games
Since that Game 7 in 2016, the 33-year-old's shooting has plummeted to the point where defenses simply haven't guarded him over the last few years. Between that 2015-16 year and this one, Green has shot the three-ball between 27% and 30.8% across the last seven seasons.
Yet despite his advancing age, something has shifted through the first quarter of this season. Between Green's early injury issue and a five-game suspension, he's shooting 47.2% from three on 3.0 attempts per game -- the most since that 2015-16 season.
Defenses still won't guard him, allowing the former Defensive Player of the Year to take advantage like he did in the first-quarter against the LA Clippers on Saturday. Green started with a catch-and-shoot three on Golden State's first possession of the game, which was the first of four he made on five attempts through the first eight minutes.
It was a throwback to the second-quarter of that Game 7, yet not completely out of the blue given what Green's been producing so far this season. The 12 first-quarter points led him to 21 for the game -- his first 20-point regular season game since Christmas Day 2019.
But for all Green's hot three-point shooting this season, it still sits as a scoring source opposition teams want. On the final possession of Saturday's game, with the Warriors trailing by one after Paul George's three-pointer, they were left with a Green corner three to win it. He came up short.
Make no mistake, that was a high-level defensive play from the Clippers and not one Golden State would have been happy with. Kawhi Leonard stuck with Stephen Curry for the entire play, making him kick it out to Green out of necessity rather than desire.
That play alone signifies that Green's three-point shooting still sits as a bonus right now, rather than something the Warriors can rely upon. He should keep taking them so long as teams keep leaving him wide open, but it's not as if that's the primary method Steve Kerr wants to use to win games.
If Green can get back to a point where defenses start guarding him, then that's when it starts to have a huge impact on everything the Warriors do offensively. Will we reach that point? Opposition defenses may not have a choice if he keeps hitting at this rate.