The Golden State Warriors defense has not been good this season — they are giving up 105.8 points per 100 possessions, 23rd in the NBA. While the Warriors have won five in a row, that’s all about their offense — their defense is surrendering 107.5 per 100 in that stretch.
While Draymond Green is an elite defensive player because of his ability to guard just about every position on the court, when he is on the court the Warriors are still giving up 104.9 per 100 this season.
Still, he’s been a guy in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year before, and he wants that award, as he told Chris Haynes of ESPN.
“That’s something that I want to win,” Green told ESPN in an exclusive interview this week. “And if there’s anything I’ve ever been selfish about, it’s that award. Like, I want that award.”
“That doesn’t bother me to say I’m selfish in that regard. I want that award bad,” Green reiterated to ESPN. “And that’s because I view myself as a defender. It’s like if I view myself as a scorer then I want to win the scoring title. If I am a scorer and I say I’m a scorer and that’s what I do, I want to win the scoring title because it says I was the best in this year at what I do. So that is something that I want to win.”
Kawhi Leonard has won that award two years running. While one could make a case that two seasons ago Green was more deserving than Leonard for DPOY — based on Leonard missing time due to injury, mostly — it’s hard to argue the voters’ choice. Leonard is a lock-down defender.
Green has not seen a huge drop off this season defensively — he is still the reason the Warriors can switch everything, he’s blocking 1.7 shots per game, and he’s made plays. Leonard, Utah’s Rudy Gobert, and the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan are in the mix as well as Green.
But much like players on teams under .500 do not win MVP, it’s hard to imagine someone from an average or below NBA defense winning DPOY. If Green is going to be in the mix for this award, the entire roster is going to have to pick it up.
And you can bet Green is in their face telling them to do just that.