Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green Was Never Built To Lead

Golden State Warriors
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It had to happen at some point. The Golden State Warriors and their great run had to come to an end. How would anyone believe that without Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson things would go smoothly? However, no one expected any of this. Even with Stephen Curry and newly acquired All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell, the Warriors’ season still had promise. And then, there was still super glue-guy–Draymond Green.

In the past four seasons, Green has been selected to three All-Star Games. In 2015, he began a great run with season averages of 14.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 7.4 assists while shooting .490 percent from the floor. During the 2016 campaign, Green showed he wasn’t a one-year wonder by averaging 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists.

To top off his remarkable run, Green is widely considered one of the best defenders in the NBA. He officially took home that honor in 2017. With all those accolades, why was the play of Green being questioned this season? The reason for that is simple. Green has never put up what should be considered great numbers. He was just the product of a great system while playing alongside great players. If he was on the Charlotte Hornets with similar numbers, they would be ignored.

To defend the critics, the questions really began during the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. With Durant out and Thompson hobbled then completely removed, the Warriors only had Curry and Green to rely on. The end result, the Raptors knocked off the Warriors as Green was unable to contain either Kawhi Leonard or Pascal Siakam.

Draymond Green, on the offensive side of the court, managed to average 12.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 9.3 assists while hitting .433 percent of his shots. The writing was on the wall, Green is not an offensive threat. This past offseason, after Durant left, the Warriors panicked knowing there was no one to help Curry.

Although the Warriors won a title without Durant in 2015, that was an entirely different roster. Plus, the Cleveland Cavaliers had health issues of their own with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both out. All Green had to do was defend, dish, and make the occasional three from atop the key or the corner.

Now, this season, things have not come as easy. While Russell made the All-Star Game last season, he’s no Thompson or Durant. In 33 games with the Warriors, Russell aveaged 23.6 points. The pressure was on Green to produce.

With Curry out, the Warriors did more than struggle. The bright side of this has been what their future will look like entering the 2020 season. A losing season will bring a high draft pick and with the return of Thompson and Curry, the Warriors have a chance to rebuild after one down year. But still, that didn’t take the pressure off Green.

Draymond Green is arguably one of the best stretch 4’s in the NBA. But with the Warriors’ roster short on true paint play, Steve Kerr elected at times to play Green in the pivot position. He’s a great defender, but this has often left him in foul trouble. Kerr never devised a new offensive plan of attack to find ways to utilize Green more across the court.
Golden State Warriors
Image by ESPN

As bad as the situation was for the Warriors, this is exactly the moment Green should’ve been waiting for. He was given the golden opportunity to silence his critics about his play and most importantly, his attitude. The truth is, he failed. Green averaged 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists while shooting .389 percent from the floor. Those numbers are not reflective of a leader.

If Curry or Thompson were to out up those types of numbers, their career would have an asterisk next to it. Green deserves all the criticism he has received. This was his time to shine. His time to hold the fort down until his team was back at 100 percent. It was his time to distance himself from the doubt, the critics, and the claim that he’s just a byproduct of the system. He failed and he failed miserably.

No matter what happens moving forward, Green should never be invited back to any NBA All-Star games unless he averages 20 points per game. He is talented, but the 2019-20 season was the truth unleashed. Green is only as good as those around him.

About Mark Wilson 50 Articles
Mark started his writing journey covering the Brooklyn Nets for Rant Sports then ventured out on his own to start TLS. He's currently a lead NBA/NFL writer for Clutch Points, while also contributing on Screen Rant as a lead Entertainment writer. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report, Yahoo Sports, Fansided, Fox Sports, Teen Vogue, and more.

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