Golden State Warriors

Watch: Warriors’ Draymond Green passes up open dunk in Tokyo Olympics

When Warriors superstar Draymond Green passes up a wide-open look near the basket, it’s certainly not breaking news. It’s more like a soap opera, closely resembling “Days of Our Lives,” perhaps.

Green has proven over the years that he prefers to kick the ball out for an open look from the 3-point line, sometimes even if he’s wide open. He’s played his entire career with the best shooting backcourt in NBA history in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, so the practice does at least make sense.

But I contend that when he’s clearly open near the hoop, Green simply has to make an easy field goal, even if it’s worth two points rather than three. While playing for the U.S. Olympic basketball team in Tokyo, Green gave us another example of his preferred choice when he’s cleared for takeoff near the basket.

Green is wide open for a dunk, thanks to solid player and ball movement, but he still passes the ball out for 3-pointer. That’s crazy to me, whether the 3-point shot is made or not (unless it’s a late game situation and three points are needed).

When Green is on the Warriors, the opposing team barely guards him at times because they know Green prefers to pass rather than shoot. I contend this hurts Golden State’s chances, especially if the team fails to acquire another superstar such as Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

But Green seems to disagree. After Suns forward Mikal Bridges pointed out that the result of this play was a made 3-point shot, Green tweeted this gem.

I simply could not disagree more with Green here. Kicking the ball out for a 3-point shot is a great idea in the modern basketball era, but my goodness, there’s a limit, isn’t there?

For starters, coach Steve Kerr has claimed that the Warriors are better when Green is a threat to score. What better way to prove you’re a threat than to convert the type of basket pictured above? If Green prefers to kick the ball out, fine. But every time? Without fail? That’s bad basketball.

He’s made similar plays in the NBA, but with Green more of a threat to score, especially near the basket, it helps to free up Curry because the defense has to actually guard Green somewhat closely, pulling defenders away from the Warriors’ former NBA MVP.

The made 3-point basket does not justify the passivity near the hoop. Green seems unwilling at times to take the shot, and when he’s back in Golden State, I’d rather see him convert open wide-open shots like this. I believe his coach does as well.

Finally, it’s this type of play that makes it difficult for the Warriors to break a box-and-1 defense when Curry is without Thompson. It’s absurd that other teams can get away with treating Golden State like a high school squad with just one player that can score. Depending on what the Warriors roster looks like in 2021-22, I say Green has to make the simple play and throw it down when he’s wide open. That’s what basketball is, isn’t it?

What do you think? Do critics of this play not know basketball, as Green suggests? Is this play a product of 21st century hoops? Or do wide-open dunks never go out of style? I know how I feel about it, but who knows, perhaps I can be persuaded that this isn’t a soap opera but rather how basketball is played in today’s NBA.

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