The Golden State Warriors have two former MVPs and scoring champions in Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, but Draymond Green is their most versatile player. Green put together an impressive Game One performance against Portland on Sunday afternoon. He had 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, and five blocks as the Warriors won 121-109. The fifth-year player out of Michigan State doesn’t score like his fellow All-Star teammates, but he impacts the game in many ways that they cannot. He’s a throwback playing in the modern NBA.
Draymond Green is Backbone of Golden State Warriors
Today’s NBA is a finesse game. Gone are the days of physical, smash-mouth basketball. The Warriors are a prime example of this. They were the first team to really implement the small ball concept. Durant, Curry, and Klay Thompson are phenomenal players, but their games are all skill-focused. They don’t strike fear or physically intimidate people.
Green brings an edge that takes Golden State to the next level above everyone else. His physical style of play and brash smack-talking ignites his teammates and digs deeply under the skin of opponents. This was perhaps the most evident in a game in which Green did not play – Game Five of the 2016 NBA Finals against Cleveland. Green was suspended after a flagrant foul he committed in Game Four. The Warriors missed Green’s presence from the opening tip onwards. The team played with little emotion, and LeBron James went off for 41 points en route to a 112-97 Cavaliers win.
Green has two NBA All-Defensive First Team selections, and he is known as one the NBA’s top defenders. His ability to guard all five positions at a high level is something rarely seen in the history of the NBA. Many teams will play stretches of small ball, going with just one post player. However, what makes Golden State’s small ball lineup so lethal is that 6-foot-7 Green is able to hold his own against other team’s much larger big men, meaning the Warriors can play without a single true post player on the court. That leads to a crisp, free-flowing offensive attack that the league has never before seen.
In a win against Memphis on Feb. 10, Green became the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double with less than 10 points. He finished the game with 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 steals. The feat not only showed his great versatility, but it proved that nobody in the league can impact a game without scoring more than Green does. He averages just nine points per game for his career, yet Green has been selected as an All-Star twice and he earned a roster spot on USA’s 2016 Olympic team, which won gold in Rio.
Realistically, the Warriors should have no issues beating the Trail Blazers. However, some potential match-ups in later rounds will require Green to be at his best. The Clippers have two high-end big men in DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. There’s also the potential Western Conference Finals against the Spurs. Green would likely spend time guarding both Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge – a task that few, if any, other players in the NBA could do at a high level. If Golden State wins the championship, Green’s versatility will be a big reason why.
OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 19: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)