Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green was the 2016-17 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He’s not up for that award at this season, as the NBA released its most recent finalists list for its end of season awards on Friday. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Green believes he is the best defender of all time.
Speaking to The Athletic after Thursday’s Game 2 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, Green told Marcus Thompson that he believes he is the best defender ever.
Via The Athletic:
“The best ever defender?” Green said after the Warriors held Portland to 46 points on 38.5 percent shooting in the second half in Thursday’s 114-111 win in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
The best defender ever?
“Me.” Green punctuated his declaration with a nod as he strutted out of the locker room with a smile. But he wasn’t joking. “That’s what I believe. Wholeheartedly.”
Green has certainly been one of the most important defenders of all-time, and his value in the Golden State system cannot be understated. On Thursday, he allowed the Warriors to get away with playing a smaller lineup while still being able to defend a legitimate 7-footer in Meyers Leonard — from the 3-point line to the restricted area — down the stretch.
Of course Scottie Pippen, no slouch on the defensive side of the ball himself, had something to say about that. Speaking on ESPN’s The Jump on Friday, Pippen said he didn’t consider Green to be the best defender ever because he wasn’t the type of guy that you put on the best opposing player in crunch time.
I’m not sure that’s always been the case, and the whole idea of what the “best” defender means is up for debate. Green can think he is the best ever, and we can debate about it, because we will never be able to know for certain.
It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.
Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.
The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.
Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).
Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.
If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.
Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).
With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.
Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.
Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.
The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.
It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.
Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.
Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).
One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.