Golden State Warriors

The Whiteboard: Nobody should guard Draymond Green

Draymond Green is a terrific player, but he might lead to the Golden State Warriors undoing if he continues to miss all of his shots.

The Los Angeles Lakers easily beat the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, even with LeBron James missing much of the game because of a groin strain. In addition to great performances from Rajon Rondo and Ivica Zubac, Los Angeles got the win thanks to a striking defensive strategy: the Lakers didn’t bother guarding Draymond Green.

Los Angeles packed the paint and sent extra defenders toward the more dangerous Warriors, and the gambit worked. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant combined to shoot 12-of-37 from the field, scoring a combined 41 points. Considering the lack of depth in Golden State, that just isn’t enough.

At his best Green, is no offensive dynamo, but his capable 3-point shooting and passing acumen has made him solid enough on that end in the past. This season, Green has been far from solid. He’s in the sixth percentile of bigs in points per shot attempt, as per Cleaning the Glass, and is the only player to average more than 30 minutes per game and have a true shooting percentage below 48, aside from Kevin Love, who’s played all of four games this season.

Not since his rookie year has Green been this bad from 3-point percentage — the controversial power forward is making a paltry 22.4 percent of his triples. There’s no reason to guard him if he can’t convert on more than a quarter of his shots from long range. Knowing that, the Lakers chose simply not to. Other teams will likely follow suit.

The irony in containing the Warriors with this method is that Steve Kerr utilized the same technique to overcome a tough Memphis Grizzlies team in the 2015 NBA Playoffs when he had Andrew Bogut “cover” Tony Allen by acting as a free safety.

Golden State is already reportedly looking at other ways to get Draymond more involved offensively, but it’s tough to completely overcome an offensive liability. Unless Draymond Green can fare better than Allen could on offense, he might end up providing some Warriors kryptonite to another contender.

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