Draymond Green stands out in Warriors’ win over Bulls
The definition of a star or superstar in the NBA is typically that of a primary ball handler who controls virtually every aspect of a half-court offense, primarily consisting of scoring or passing to a teammate left open from a self-created. advantage.
Everything else that doesn’t involve all of these skills is considered a rung or two below the role hierarchy, often considered what people call “role players”. But good role players who have been deemed essential tend to secure minutes and positions that put them well above the “average” complementary staff.
Horford got the extension in the middle of a season where his contract was about to expire. Of course, the Celtics have a history of extending players in the middle of the season, something the Warriors typically don’t do. If anything, they give players extensions before a season starts, as evidenced by the deals they made to Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins.
When the Warriors opted not to offer a similar package to Draymond Green, many wondered if that meant Green’s last dance with the organization that drafted him and nurtured him for the better part of a decade. Considering what happened during the NBA Finals and the offseason — a decline in offensive production and the drama surrounding Green and Poole — that possibility was becoming more and more of a not-so-distant reality.
When many considered Green the unthinkable, disposable and replaceable, Green did what he always has done in the face of doubt: prove everyone very wrong.
If Horford, a good basketball player but historically considered a couple of tiers below Green in terms of caliber, is deemed worthy of a new contract, then what’s to stop the Warriors from extending Green the same gesture?
Of course, the answer to this is much more complicated. The Warriors find themselves in the quagmire that is the luxury tax, with penalties increasing exponentially with each passing season. Paying Green what he would want, arguably far more than what Horford deservedly received, would make an already exorbitant tax bill even more unsustainable.
But consider all the things Horford does above that gave him his extension, and also consider the fact that, with the exception of spacing, Green does everything Horford does at a much higher level high.
Green is more than a versatile scheme defender—he is Warriors defensive scheme.
Much of what the Warriors are able to do on the bench is because of Green’s versatility and intelligence. When holes are continually being created in an attempt to sink the ship, he has consistently been there to plug them one after the other.
It’s no absolute surprise that the Warriors were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better on defense with Green on the floor. They’ve been the best in the league in terms of opponent rim rate, and Green has been a big part of their excellence in cutting into the paint and sending scoring attempts up close.
His understanding of positioning and verticality is a rare trait in the NBA, but it’s an often underappreciated skill. In a league where the line between a legal contest and a foul is increasingly blurred, Green’s defensive reputation and skill set are a valuable commodity.
When you consider his body of work over the past decade, Green has a pretty strong case for being considered the best defender of this generation, which often overshadows how irreplaceable he has been on offense, even though be the traditional high-scoring player that defines. what an NBA star should be.
Green hasn’t averaged double digits in points since 2017-18, which has been a big point of contention regarding his offensive “slump.” During the Kevin Durant era, his scoring drop was justified in the sense that he didn’t need to score as much; he had Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to do it for him.
But in this post-Durant era, the need for Green to act as an additional scoring threat has once again taken center stage. Just when it looked like parent time was catching up to him (the athleticism present in his 20s that seemed to hit his stride as he entered his 30s), Green continues to show that he finds ways to become an offensive centerpiece .
Most of which have appeared in classic short-run looks against underdog opponents:
The pass is the Warriors’ most important currency for their offense. More specifically, passing in the context of bridging the gap between playmaking/decision making and scoring is what makes their offense work.
Most offenses use the terms “passing hub” and “connector” loosely; Green is without a doubt the ultimate manifestation of what these terms really mean. Without him, the off-ball movement and flow that have become Warriors trademarks simply cannot exist.
Being able to organize his teammates on both ends of the floor, along with high-level passing and decision-making, is what has allowed Green to salvage a second unit that was on the verge of collapse. The lineup featuring Poole, Donte DiVincenzo, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Lamb has outscored opponents by 4.5 points per 100 possessions on 44 possessions recorded; replacing Wiggins with Jonathan Kuminga has been even more effective, outscoring opponents by a whopping 72.7 points per 100 possessions, albeit in a very small sample of 22 possessions.
It used to be unthinkable for Green to split from Curry in minutes, but Green keeps the team afloat whenever Curry is sitting on the bench. Stripping away low-leverage situations (ie, gargabe time), Green has spent 61 total minutes without Curry by his side—the Warriors have outscored opponents by 11.2 points per 100 possessions during these minutes.
While his value on some level will continue to be tied to his partnership with Curry, Green is making a strong case as an invaluable part of the Warriors’ success. Without him, the team will struggle to find a suitable replacement. It could be argued that there will never be an adequate replacement for what Green can bring, whether it’s from the organization through youth development or acquiring someone via trade or free agency.
If that isn’t the definition of what a “star” is, I don’t know what is. Green simply cannot be replaced; it might be time to start paying him whatever he wants so the Warriors don’t have to.
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