When Draymond Green is himself, he’s an NBA All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year, and a former NCAA Player of the Year at Michigan State to boot.
But he hasn’t been himself, at least not all the time, thus far in 2021. He’s averaging career lows in rebounds and blocked shots, and he’s hesitated to be involved offensively, even if he has an open layup at times.
Green himself admits he’s not all there yet, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Here’s part of what Green said after the Warriors blowout win against the Pistons.
“I think I’m like two, three weeks away,” Green said. “Continue to get in better shape. My speed is kind of getting there. I dunked the ball today. That was big time. I was really excited about that.”
Green indeed bricked a dunk earlier in the season, so a clean flush in encouraging. His conditioning isn’t there yet, as he mentioned. Green is playing just over 26 minutes per game in 2021, after playing more than 30 minutes a game during Golden State’s championship run.
Slater asked Green what the “better version” of Green would bring.
If a better version arrives, where will that help the Warriors most?
“Rebounding,” Green said. “I think I’ve been pretty solid defensively, but I can be better. Then pushing the ball in transition. That helps a lot. Because then you’re not always playing against a set defense.”The Athletic
Perfect. Green’s rebounding has underwhelmed, and coach Steve Kerr says that’s one of the team’s key needs. Plus, another ball-handler is always welcome in Kerr’s system, especially with superstar Steph Curry alongside. Green’s assist numbers are still solid, as usual.
The Warriors may well go as far as Green, along with Curry, takes them. Right now, the trajectory is up, as long as Green can achieve peak form as he predicts.
BONUS: Here’s Green’s extended comments, courtesy of Slater.
(Photo credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports)