Draymond Green is a huge part of the Warriors’ fast start
The third-year player is having a career year for Golden State, just in time for him to cash in on the open market.
In the sixth game of the first round series between the Clippers and the Warriors in the 2014 playoffs, Draymond Green had 14 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and four assists in a 100-99 Warriors win. For a guy who averaged 6.2 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes per game, it was a huge performance. Green was instrumental in the entire seven-game series. He played 32 minutes per game and averaged 11.9 points and 8.3 rebounds. The Warriors lost the seventh game, but the series taught them something: Green can be a difference maker in the NBA.
Steve Kerr noticed, which explains why Green has been a big part of the Warriors’ success this season. Golden State drafted Green with the 35th pick in the 2012 draft, and the former Michigan State Spartan gave the Warriors a solid option off the bench in his first two years in the league. But this season, with a spot in the starting five because of a David Lee injury, Green has made a jump. He’s averaging career highs in nearly every statistical category. It’s a good year for the improvement: Green will be a free agent this summer and is poised to cash in.
Lee is expected to return to the Warriors soon. Kerr will have a tough decision as to whether or not to continue starting Green. Kerr will certainly find playing time for the wing, who is bringing a lot to the table for the Warriors.
Green improved his shooting
A big reason for Green’s uptick in statistics is that he’s playing more. He’s averaging 32.3 minutes per game, up from 21.9 last season. He’s taking advantage of his extra time on the court, averaging 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. His scoring is more than double what he averaged last year. Aside from minutes, he’s also shooting the ball much better. He shot 40.7 percent from the field and 33 percent from behind the arc in 2013-14. This year he’s shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 37.9 from three. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the team, those shooting numbers aren’t eye-popping, but they’re solid for the team’s third or fourth option.
The Warriors are using Green more
Green’s decision making is a big reason that he’s seen success this season. According to Basketball Reference, his usage rate is 18.4 percent, up from 14.8 last year. The Warriors offense is so potent, and even though it runs around Curry and Thompson, who have usage rates of 28.8 and 27.0 percent respectively, Green is trusted to facilitate. He’s not necessarily the one getting the assist (he’s averaging a career-high 3.1 per game), but Green plays a big role in the crisp passing and movements of the Golden State offense.
He’s still an energy guy
Green came off the bench his first two years in the league. But he made sure to make an impact by playing with a ton of energy. He still does that in a starting role. He plays hard on both sides of the ball. Green is fourth in the league in defensive rating at 96.2 and tied for second in the league with 1.4 defensive win shares, per Basketball Reference. Green knows his role offensively and defensively with this Warriors team. Plus, he provides an emotional spark for the Warriors.
No team has figured out how to slow the Warriors down. With Draymond Green playing at this level, it doesn’t seem like anyone will soon.