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.
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.
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.
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.