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NBA AM: Draymond Green Is Having an Unprecedented Season

Even though the offense has struggled, Draymond Green remains one of the NBA’s most unique and versatile defenders.

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Draymond Green has long been considered one of the most unique players in NBA history. His skill set allows him to have one of the worst shooting seasons in recent memory, yet still be an integral part of the Golden State Warriors’ success. Green is no longer the Defensive Player of the Year or All-Star he once was, but he’s been as important as ever to the back-on-the-map dynasty.

Naturally, Green is having the worst statistical season of his career since his rookie season. He’s averaging just 5 points per game while shooting an abysmal 34 percent from the field and 19.5 percent on three-pointers. On top of that, he’s also struggling to finish around the rim. He’s shooting just 26.7 percent in the paint (non-restricted area) per NBA.com.

But it extends beyond that: only two players in NBA history have averaged 5 or fewer points per game while shooting 35 percent or less from the field and less than 20 percent on three-point attempts while playing over 28 minutes per game – of course, that’s Green and Dennis Rodman. Even then, Rodman only attempted two three-pointers while Green has attempted 41. In turn, the case can be made that he is having the worst shooting season in NBA history.

For just about every other NBA player, they would be relegated to the end of the bench if not cut from the team altogether. Almost no one has put up the number he has while playing his amount of minutes. Draymond Green, however, has been the Warriors’ second-most important player. 

While his scoring and efficiency have fallen off a cliff, Green is still having a positive impact on the Golden State offense. He’s one of the best screen-setters in the league and he’s still an effective playmaker. Averaging 7.8 assists per game, which is the most on the team and also a career-high, Green’s ability as a ballhandler has taken some offensive load from Stephen Curry’s shoulders. He’s also been crucial as a communicator and mentor, as he can often be seen yelling at teammates to get into the right positions. 

A staple of the Warriors’ offense for the past half-decade has been handing Green the ball in the post not to score, but to facilitate. Here, Golden States uses a split action and Green’s vision for an easy bucket.

Green’s greatest impact may come with how much easier he makes the game for Curry. Warrior lineups with Green and Curry have outscored opponents by 83 points in their minutes together, per NBA.com. The synergy between these two is beautiful to watch as they know exactly how to play off one another. Green is constantly looking to get his star open and Curry knows that.

Look at how instinctual this play is for these two:

Green also acts as a release valve for Curry when in the pick-and-roll. Teams often look to trap Curry and that’s when he drops it off for Green who gets to attack the defense in a 4-on-3 situation.

Here’s an example of how it leads to easy offense for Golden State:

Even with the plummeting scoring ability, Green is still an all-world defender. He is more than effective on switches and can blow-up pick-and-rolls single-handily. His knack for great elite weak-side help has been crucial for the Warriors’ defense – and has been for the better part of the dynasty.

Over the years, Green has lost a step athletically, but he’s still one of the best at staying vertical and avoiding fouls.

Green’s uniqueness has never been more evident than this season. Per NBA.com, the Warriors have outscored opponents by 77 points in all of Green’s minutes this season. That’s the most on the team, even higher than Curry. When Green is on the bench, the Warriors have been outscored by opponents by 52 points. Even as he’s putting up the worst shooting splits of anyone who plays big minutes, his impact is still felt. 

Draymond Green’s numbers are down across the board, other than his assists. There are few plays where he grabs a rebound and goes coast-to-coast as he used to, but Father Time is undefeated. He’s no longer an elite rim protector and he’s really struggled to finish around the hoop himself. Yet, Green still has a 5.3 net rating. The overall athleticism has dropped off but his intelligence allows him to remain a productive player for Golden State.

Draymond Green is now 30 years old and his best seasons seem to be in the rearview mirror. However, this version of Green is still a great, impactful player – even if the box score often refuses to show it. For now, Green is having one of the most unique seasons the NBA has ever seen.

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