Nowadays, the players given most of the credit for the Warriors miraculous season are the splash brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. If the season ended right now, then Stephen Curry would win the MVP Award and the Golden State Warriors would waltz into the playoffs as the ultimate favorite to win it all for the second year in a row.
The Warriors have had the greatest start in NBA history, and in most people’s eyes, Curry’s 29 PPG and being the leader in player efficiency so far this season is the reason for it. Curry is definitely the best player on this team, but this team has proven to have success without him in the lineup after he has missed 3 games with a leg injury.
How can that be possible though? A man that scores over 25% of their points and without him his team is still able to score over 100 points easily and still be one of the most efficient offenses in the NBA.
It’s all because of one guy named Draymond Green.
The 6’7″, 230 lbs., forward has proven himself time and time again that he can pick up the slack without Curry on the floor and can create one of the best duos when Curry is at the point.
Just how good is Draymond Green? Lets take a look at what he excels at.
One reason for Curry not being the main success for this team is because of his versatility. Green can play all five positions on the floor and still has a top 20 defensive efficiency rating in the NBA. Curry’s is outside the top 50.
When Curry is not on the floor, Green brings the ball up the floor because his court vision and leadership abilities are excellent. Green can cover all positions well, and his ability to hit the three consistently makes the Curry-Green pick-and-pop almost unstoppable.
Green averages 7.4 APG as a combo forward. That ranks sixth among all NBA players and first among all power forwards. His ability to distribute from the big man position gives the Warriors advanced offensive capabilities that most other teams just don’t have.
Green is a gifted offensive player shooting the ball and driving into the paint and setting up teammates for open shots. He a decent enough dribbler to take on several defenders and lead the offense up the court.
The Warriors are just a more efficient squad with him on the court, similar to Curry. When Green is off the floor, the Warriors attempt over 75% of their shots that are two points versus with Draymond which is less than 62%. For a team that thrives from 3-point range, without a playmaker like Green to create those open opportunities they are forced to bring the ball down low rather than create open long range shots.
Also, the team misses more threes and has more shots unassisted under an offense known for moving the ball well to create good shots. When Curry is on the floor and Green is not, the Warriors get more of their points off of unassisted baskets and the offense’s fluidity of passing and creating open shots stagnates.
The most efficient player makes the offense less efficient? It isn’t significant difference, but it remains true.
Green on the court without Curry does not create this problem. Green is an extremely unselfish player and coming off screens to find open shooters is something that differs from Curry since he usually is the player taking the shot.
Curry is a phenomenal shooter, but Green is just a much better passer and his tremendous vision gifts him an advantage to move the ball. Green is the best passer on the Warriors, and in several instances he starts the string of passes that creates the wide-open shots.
This just proves how Green’s versatility is able to make the offense more fluid, being able to come off of screens, spot up and shoot, pick and pop, etc.
Is Curry a better offensive player than Green? Yes. But Draymond’s presence in the offense improves the fluidity and its efficiency.
The main thing people know Draymond Green is known for: defense. The former Michigan State Spartan is definitely one of the best defenders in the NBA and truly proved it to be on Christmas Day when he was able to limit Kevin Love’s and Kyrie Irving’s production on numerous occasions.
With Draymond on the court, opponents shoot 38.6% and less than 30% from 3. Without Draymond, opposing teams shoot 47% and 36% from 3. The Warriors defensively give up five more points which is only behind Andrew Bogut on the team due to the team’s plus/minus without Green on the floor. However, Draymond’s best win share defense is much better than Bogut’s.
This shows that the Warriors need Draymond on the court to be an efficient defending team. Curry is not a great defender and relies on his offensive play to give him the edge on defense. The Warriors give up more points to the opposing point guard than any other position on the floor. The reason why the Warriors are the 3rd most defensively efficient team in the league is because of Draymond Green.
Curry is in the top of the league in steals per game, but the people above him are Russell Westbrook, Ricky Rubio, and Kyle Lowry who have worse defensive ratings than Curry which shows that getting several steals a game does not make you a great defender.
This defense relies on Draymond Green.
Stephen Curry is the best player on this team and, for that, he will win the MVP Award once again. He is a necessary part of this offense that is the reason for this team only having two losses through almost 40 games. However, Draymond Green’s versatility, vision, and lock-down defense makes him incredibly valuable to this team, and with his responsibilities for this team, he is just as important to this team as Stephen Curry.