Draymond Green deserves respect despite NBA Finals play


If you are one of the millions watching the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, it’s no secret that Draymond Green is struggling.

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In three games, he’s averaging 9.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists compared to 11-8-3 for the regular season, and 13-5-10 for the rest of the postseason. Furthermore, he’s shooting 12.5 percent from three-point range compared to his season average around 34 percent.

Green is the X-factor who allows the Warriors offense to run like a machine. He frees up the ‘Splash Brothers,’ always finds the open man and plays lock-down defense. As many know, Green finished second for NBA Defensive Player of the Year despite receiving the most first place votes.

Going into the series, many fans and analysts expected Green to receive a max contract at the end of this year, which still may happen. Three games later and people are laughing at the thought of Day Day receiving a big contract. Are viewers smart to turn on Green after a few games, or are they making a mistake? I believe they are making a huge mistake, based on a few facts.

Green’s defense: It is easy to see that Green is struggling with his staple defense during the series, he has been beaten one on one by LeBron James and, last game, he allowed 75% of his opponents shots in the paint to go in. To the first critique, let’s be clear, no one can guard LeBron and it isn’t because Draymond is being lazy.

Jun 9, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) is fouled by Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the third quarter in game three of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the Warriors winning stretches, Green mostly played center and shut down his opponent. In this series, you have an arguably undersized center guarding James, which will not end well.

To the second point, Green’s defense has been among the best throughout the year. In defensive win-shares which measures the amount of wins a team has received because of a player’s individual defense, Green ranks second in the league. Defensive rating, Green is fourth in the league.

It’s apparent that his entire body of work, and not three games, proves the superior defender that Green truly has become. Furthermore, compared to LeBron, Green accumulates 0.4 less rebounds than the “King” despite playing four less minutes per game. It is obvious that Green’s defense is among the elite.

Green’s offense: In 2014-15 Green averaged 11.7 points, 3.7 assists and 8.2 rebounds per game, well above his career average of 7-2-5. He has shown the ability to have monstrous games, even during the playoffs. Recently against the Pelicans, he put up 22 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists

He has also been known to accumulate the occasional triple-double, something that is difficult at his size and position. Many similar players can rebound and score around the rim, but I would argue that Green has some of the best vision and passing ability in the NBA.

It’s pretty obvious that Green is not playing like himself during the series against the Cavaliers, and that his offensive game is a legitimate threat. He has proven himself throughout most of the regular season and playoffs that he is consistent contributor, and difficult for defenders to guard.

Green’s Intangibles: When Draymond plays like his Twitter handle, @MoneyGreen23, the Warriors win. One can make an argument that based off the first three games against the Cavs, Draymond helps to spark the offense and gets the splash brothers in rhythm.

Jun 9, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) during the first quarter of game three of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the second half of last nights game, Steph Curry has had trouble shooting the ball. This is why Day Day is the X-factor for the Warriors’ offense. If Green can draw defenders out to the three point, or a possible double team on the block, it frees up Steph Curry.

With the defense focused on Green’s shooting and passing ability, Curry has been able to find himself open more often than not and get off good shots. It’s apparent through the finals this hasn’t been the case. If Green gets going, which one should expect, look for the Warriors offense to find its sparkplug.

Finally, absurdly, people are arguing that Draymond doesn’t deserve a max contract. Through his consistent offense, defense and unmatched intangibles, he’s a rare player. Any team would be lucky to have a versatile player like him who will play in the league at a high level for years to come.

People love to hate, and have revisionist history based off of three games. Day Day will get it going in Game 4 because, after all, he is a Spartan Dawg. I have one word of advice for Green, block out the fools and trolls on social media.

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