If there was a hall of fame for being unique, Warriors forward Draymond Green would be in there for sure.
He’ll likely enter the real basketball hall of fame as a three-time NBA champion and former NCAA Player of the Year at Michigan State, but for this make-believe “unique” hall of fame, he’s a first-ballot shoo-in.
A game after drawing two crucial technical fouls in the last 10 seconds of Golden State’s loss to the Hornets, Green played with purpose in the Warriors next contest, a 114-106 win in New York against the Knicks.
Though he was aggressive on offense early, he was more impressive in every other facet of the game, totaling 12 assists, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks, with just three turnovers. He also scored seven points, all in the first quarter. Overall, he was 3-for-9 shooting, hitting 1-of-4 3-pointers.
It’s typical for Green’s boxscore to tilt away from the scoring column, especially since the Warriors 73-win season in 2016, when he averaged 14 points a game in 81 contests. His scoring average has dipped since then for unknown reasons, and this season, he averages just 5.2 points a night.
But that hasn’t stopped him from impacting the team immensely on both sides of the floor, with his assists and elite defense. It all adds up to the possibility of a truly unique season for Green. According to StatMuse, he’s on pace to be the first NBA player in history to average more than eight assists a game while not scoring six points per game or shoot 40 percent from the field.
So there are obviously some ugly stats above,too, not just nice ones — namely the shooting numbers. It’s incredible that Green can still be enough of a threat to draw any defense at all so he can rack up his assists. The Knicks laid off him when he was in scoring position more than most teams I’ve seen, but the moment they drew near, Green found an open man.
Green smartly started to dribble inside the 3-point line in the Knicks game, making defenders pay attention rather than simply watch Green hoist a shot from distance.
His teammate, superstar guard Stephen Curry, has a lot to do with Green’s ability to find open teammates as well, with all the attention Curry garners. The two are seemingly the perfect pairing, both in temperament and floor game. Green knew he had to help his team to a win after costing his team dearly against the Hornets. He did so, only as he can.
What do you think about Green’s scoring numbers falling off a cliff the last few years? Is it a concern? Or not as long as he keeps racking up assists? I say Green has to simply not be a spaz when he has a chance to score. He seems to freak out a bit near the hoop when it’s obvious he should shoot. Just make the open layup or dunk, and that is plenty from Green to keep defenders off balance so he can impact the game in other areas, as he’s made a career of.
I think it’s a simple matter of confidence regarding his ability to make layups and dunks. I think he’s lost that a bit somehow, and if he got it back, it would go a long way to help Golden State’s chances in 2021.
(Photo credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports)