Draymond Green’s value and impact shine through in the win against the Clippers

Draymond Green’s value and impact shine through in the win against the Clippers

As the season progresses and the Golden State Warriors They are trying to get out of an early season slump, one thing is becoming more and more clear.

The Warriors may have to give Draymond Green what he wants.

Of course, this is out of their hands. Green has an upcoming player option worth approximately $27.6 million; it’s up to him if he wants to take that money or become an unrestricted free agent an offseason earlier than expected. It’s one outcome the Warriors can only pray to the basketball gods to favor.

Green is in full control of his destiny, but somehow, his options are limited. Throughout his 11-year career with the Warriors, he has been rooted in an ecosystem that has brought out the best in his talents.

Green’s passing and vision are at a high enough base level to be considered elite, but no one can deny that having an offensive partner in Stephen Curry elevates those skill sets to a stratospheric level. Coupled with a system built around Curry’s all-time great offense and tailored to his ability to be the ultimate connector and center, Green has known nothing but success throughout the decade he’s been using a Warriors jersey.

One can count on the fact that Green may never be a good fit with other teams, at least in terms of the offensive fit. The other side of that coin is that there are a couple of teams with similar personnel that can approximate the type of environment in which Green has thrived, namely the Portland Trail Blazers with Damian Lillard as Curry’s double.

But this scenario is far in the future; in the present, Green is proving, as he always has, that his value to the Warriors never wavered or completely disappeared, even while at the center of several controversies that have alienated even the their own fan base and have threatened to tear the team apart. camaraderie and culture.

The most recent example of Green’s value to the team: his insertion as a second-unit stabilizer. Before the match against Los Angeles ClippersSteve Kerr made clear his intention to inject Green’s energy and impact to breathe life into his struggling bench units.

Five-man lineups that don’t have all five Warriors starters together have struggled mightily. They’ve been outscored by a combined 8.9 points per 100 possessions, with offensive and defensive efficiency marks that fall well below the league average, per Cleaning the Glass.

Part of that problem has been the lack of an “adult” in second-unit setups, especially those starting in the second and fourth quarters. An offense that relies on players who act as the figurative connective tissue that holds everything together has been in short supply whenever Curry and Green sit.

Those expected to act as connectors and hubs have not lived up to expectations. JaMychal Green has largely disappointed; Donte DiVincenzo, although impressive in points, has not been enough; Jonathan Kuminga has yet to become that type of player; James Wiseman is in the G League trying to prove he can be an NBA level player.

As such, Kerr made the executive decision to deploy his best plug to save his backups, and the effects were felt immediately.

The one thing that stands out with Green as the second unit’s stabilizer is the amount of the ball. Stagnation is the death of Warriors basketball, and the second unit has had plenty of moments where possessions died with a whimper. The green serves as a much-needed EpiPen injection; the ball keeps moving, but more importantly the players keep moving.

Leads are created, just like in the previous instance, where a sliding screen by Andrew Wiggins creates a layup, with Green as the facilitator responsible for its completion.

Even on chaotic possessions without rhyme or reason, Green’s presence gives the bench crowd plenty of opportunities to generate high-quality looks.

It’s Green’s effort on the boards and the sense to immediately throw it to the perimeter, aware of a defense that isn’t in a position to rotate in an organized manner, that carries Wiggins three up.

Even the subtlest nuances are noticed and fully exploited when Green is on the floor. Only someone of his caliber of play can notice something as subtle as Jordan Poole setting a stick screen, generating an open three that Wiggins, shooting 43.5% on 6.8 attempts per game, calmly knocks down.

This should go without saying, but the benefits of having Green on the floor with bench units include the defensive end of the floor. With him as the small-ball five, the ability to shift and keep things flat, keep the ball in front and avoid any kind of advantage creation is amplified.

In Green’s seven-minute stint with the second drive to start the second quarter, the Warriors outscored the Clippers by four points; in their fourth quarter before Curry’s reinsertion at 7:10, the Warriors outscored the Clippers by five points, clearly providing an easy fix for Kerr and the problems he’s had to deal with in terms of combinations banks

In a macro sense, Green’s value and impact have always been needs for the Warriors. Being able to unlock what makes Curry so great as an offensive player, and also being able to unlock what makes the Warriors a potent offensive team, is well within his wheelhouse.

For example: The ability to push the tempo in transition and catch a retreating defense unaware is made possible by Green’s ball handling, speed and quick processing.

Green has arguably the highest level of situational awareness in the league. His connection with Curry is almost telepathic; when defenses cut into Curry, Green knows how to get the most out of the game.

But what has definitely impressed me the most about Green this season is his aggression and willingness to finish advantage situations. The Clippers are as well coached on defense as any team in the league; there’s a reason they’re currently the second-worst defensive team in the league, trailing only the Milwaukee Bucks ahead of them.

Of all people, Ty Lue knows that sending two bodies toward Curry around ball screens is asking to be cut on the short roll.

When it came to Green as a short-range shooter, Lue made sure to tell his players to sit on Green’s various passing options, knowing full well that Green would rather pass than finish the possession himself.

Green, however, has increased his level of aggression:

Green posted a stat line against the Clippers: 9 points, 7 rebounds and 12 assists. The Warriors outscored the Clippers by 21 points during his 33 minutes on the floor, including the crucial bench unit stretch where he captained and stabilized a previously struggling unit.

The Warriors are outscoring opponents by 9.6 points per 100 possessions in 459 non-low leverage minutes that Green has played this season. Most of that has been due to being paired with Curry on the floor; prior to tonight, Kerr had been very reluctant to split the duo up.

With Green starting the second and fourth quarters, the on/off numbers may not be as stratospheric as they would be when paired with Curry, but as Green said after the game, that may not be what his job calls for as a bank stabilizer.

Green’s value has never been over the raw count stats, nor has the box score really captured his impact. Being considered overrated in some circles has had the ironic effect of making him one of the most underrated players of this generation.

The numbers haven’t really mattered with Green, until they eventually will, when contract talks start to come up. By then, the question of which numbers are really important will have been decided: ownership or Green’s.

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