Draymond Green is building another strong case for inclusion on this year’s Defensive Team.
He’s also building a strong case to be rewarded with the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
In an era of great defensive players that includes the likes of Rudy Gobert, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ben Simmons, Green may be the best of the generation. And as time goes on, Green continues to make a case for being included among the all-time great defensive players this game has seen.
While Stephen Curry’s rise to greatness gets most of the credit for the Warriors’ success over the past decade, it may also be directly correlated to the team’s success and Green’s becoming one of the best defenders. of the league.
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Mark Jackson laid the foundation for Golden State’s championship-level defense in his second season as the team’s head coach. The arrival of Andrew Bogut helped speed up the process, but it was Green’s assertiveness on defense that brought the Warriors to the top.
In their 2014-15 championship season, the Warriors became the best defensive unit in the league with a defensive rating of 100.4 according to NBA statistics. With Green on the court, the team was even more tight-fisted, with a defensive rating of 97.3. That number jumped to 103.1 when Green was on the bench, which would have ranked them outside of the top 10.
That year, the Warriors had so many capable defenders that many might have overlooked Green’s defensive contributions. Surrounded by the likes of Bogut, Finals MVP Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson, it’s easy to see why. But it did not happen. Green was rightly rewarded, winning the first of three consecutive nods from the Defensive First Team. In 2017, he won his first Defensive Player of the Year award.
Years later, the Warriors roster looks different than the one that made it to five consecutive NBA Finals, but two things have remained the same: Green is still anchoring his defense and is once again the best in the league.
As the current favorite for Defensive Player of the Year, Green is entering a different conversation about all-time greatness.
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Is Draymond Green an all-time great defender?
To answer this question first, you must compare Green to the greats of his day. And with all due respect to Kawhi Leonard, Simmons, and Embiid, we are talking about Gobert here.
Gobert has the résumé of an all-time great defender, and with two Defensive Player of the Year awards more than Green, he makes a point of being the best of this generation.
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But Gobert has long had the stigma of being a great regular-season defensive player who plans play in the postseason. You can’t say that about Green.
In fact, Green is so disruptive on defense that teams are looking to keep him out of the action. That’s the mark of a great defensive player and one that should be in the great discussion of all time.
It’s hard to compare eras, but Green is exhibiting the kind of defensive talent that should transcend any era or style of basketball every night with his ability to defend multiple positions, score and recover, and protect the rim at a high level. And as your athleticism erodes, your mind becomes sharper than ever. Few can read a play and analyze it in real time, defensive quarterback and elevate it with his presence like Green.
This is why he should be mentioned among some of the great defensive players the game has seen.