The Golden State Warriors have been the gold standard of the NBA for some time now. The team everyone expected to be in the NBA Finals again is here for the fifth time in a row and they are seeking their fourth title in five years. The task this time is not LeBron James and the Cavaliers, but the Kawhi Leonard-led Toronto Raptors. And while many see this as a win for the Warriors, it will not come without some hard work. As much as people are picking Golden State to win the series in a landslide, it will not be an easy series. Toronto has shown they can be tough defensively and scrappy when the odds are against them. The Warriors though, have shown they have been scrappy as well. After losing DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant to injuries during the playoffs, plenty waned on the chances of Golden State winning a title let alone making it there. Well, here we are and they are back yet again. And a big reason they are back here again is the play of Draymond Green.
As time has gone on and the Warriors have added to their arsenal, Green has not necessarily been the most featured player on the Warriors team. However, with the absence of Cousins and Durant, his true value has shown up as the playoffs have progressed. While Steph Curry is technically listed as the point guard for Golden State, Draymond Green is the playmaker and pot-stirrer of the offense. He grabs rebounds and pushes tempo and either pushes to finish at the rim or finds someone open for either a layup or a three-pointer. He also is a great ball-mover because he sees passes one step ahead of when he gets the ball, essentially reading the defense before he gets the ball. Green has not necessarily shot the ball well from three-point range when given that shot, but his ball movement and finishing around the rim in addition to his floor game has been invaluable to the Warriors on their current run.
While the offensive contributions are easy to see, there are defensive contributions Green has made as well. Green does defend tough for a guy who's an undersized power forward. And at times, he is going to get taken advantage of, but what he can do is be the master communicator. While Klay Thompson gets credit for being a lockdown defender these days, Green is essentially the defensive coordinator on the floor. When he's on the floor, he is pointing out different things and essentially orchestrating the defense and where they need to be at all times. The great thing about that is he makes things easier for others on the court and for the Warriors to get in position to either make a play or force a difficult shot. In addition to his leadership on the defensive end, Green is cleaning the defensive glass at an incredible rate right now. This playoffs, he is averaging 7.9 defensive rebounds a game. Overall, Green is averaging 9.9 rebounds a game, so he has been really honed in defensively. And with his personal attack on the boards and him grabbing that many defensive rebounds, he is able to push the tempo for the Warriors and get them easy baskets when teams are still trying to match up defensively in transition.
Green may be viewed as an annoying player to many on the court and his antics may seem over the top, but during this playoff run, he has shown his immeasurable value to the Warriors and how they need him. If there was any question whether or not the Warriors can use him, the answer has been a resounding yes.