Draymond Green has a very particular set of skills, skills he acquired over an impressive career, skills that make me a nightmare for opposing teams. Green is a switchable defender who can guard 1-5, an impressive decision-maker as the roll man, a good passer, enough of a scorer to make your respect his shot, plus he was the emotional leader of a Warriors team that won three titles.
Last season, Draymond Green did not get to show off those skills.
Without Klay Thompson (ACL), Kevin Durant (Achilles/Brooklyn), or Stephen Curry (fractured hand, missed most of the season), Green was pushed into a new role that didn’t suit him. Green’s game is not built to be the focal point of an offense. Taken out of his comfort zone and with defenses more keyed on him, Green had a dreadful 48.9 true shooting percentage, including shooting 27.7% from three, and averaged 8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game (for comparison, in the 2017-18 season he averaged 11 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game with a 55.6 true shooting percentage).
Warriors coach Steve Kerr understands why Draymond Green didn’t have his best season and expects a bounce-back season he said to former NBA player Tom Tolbert on KNBR’s “Tolbert, Kreuger and Brooks” podcast (hat tip Sportando).
“I think this year was really frustrating for him offensively, and then as a competitor, it was frustrating for him just losing night after night,” Kerr said. “It’s just too difficult in this league to try to win games when you’re that shorthanded. I think he dealt with the frustration. He definitely boiled over several times, got kicked out. But, overall, I just thought he handled himself well.”
“He made it through, and he is getting a much-needed rest,” Kerr continued. “And I think we’re going to see the very best version of Draymond next year, whenever next season starts. I feel really good about where he’s going to be mentally and physically.”
It’s a lot to ask, however, Kerr expects more than just Green to bounce back. The Warriors will return next season with a healthy Curry and Thompson (the latter has been cleared for basketball activities now), plus they added Andrew Wiggins as a role player. There are questions about center and roster depth, but the Warriors should be one of the top teams in the West again. A threat every night.
And with the gravity of Curry on the court again pulling defenders to him, with the shooting of Thompson spacing the floor, Green will be back in his comfort zone next season. A place where his particular skills are very useful.