Draymond Green is one of the key Golden State Warriors players, even without a high level of scoring. But his foul issues are limiting that level of impact. Has Boston figured out one of the most polarizing players in the NBA?
Draymond Green is perhaps the quintessential “love him on your team, hate him when playing against him” player in the NBA. He’s filled that role admirably for the Golden State Warriors for a decade now. Three championships, six NBA Finals appearances, and approximately $130 million later, Green is a two-time All-NBA performer, a former Defensive Player of the Year, and a likely Hall of Famer when his career is over.
All those accolades aren’t helping him right now in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, however.
Draymond Green has as many fouls as points in the NBA Finals
StatMuse pointed out an unfortunate reality for the former Michigan State Spartan on their Twitter account on Wednesday night after Game 3 concluded — the second game in the series where Green had fouled out of the contest. Draymond had logged 15 points through three games against the Celtics — 4 in Game 1, 9 in Game 2, and 2 in Game 3. He has also logged 15 fouls through those contests — 6 in Games 1 and 3, and 3 in Game 2.
It’s easy to assume then that Draymond has had issues staying on the court. But actually through three games in the NBA Finals Green has averaged almost 36 minutes per contest. In fact, Game 1 of the Finals saw Green log 38 minutes of playing time — his most since the Warriors-Grizzlies series-deciding Game 6. Green was much better in that contest for the Warriors, logging a Game Score from Basketball-Eeference.com of 13.3 — his best of the Memphis series.
Meanwhile, in Game 1 of the Finals Draymond racked up 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals while posting his first negative postseason Game Score since 2016. In fact, Green has only logged four negative Game Score performances in his entire playoff career — the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals against the Spurs, the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the Thunder…
And Games 1 AND 3 of the 2022 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.
Is it because Al Horford and Robert Williams III provide issues that the Warriors are not able to counter? Are the perimeter players of the Celtics too fast/strong for Green to position himself appropriately with his high basketball IQ, perhaps making up for a loss of a step athletically? Is Boston forcing Green to be a scorer, like they did in Game 1 to great success for the Celtics, making Draymond’s impact in other areas of the game feel less significant? He took the shots in Game 1 and shot a putrid 2-of-12 from the field, hurting Golden State’s chances. But in Game 3 he only took four shots, making one, and posted 4 rebounds and 3 assists in his almost 35 minutes on the floor.
Draymond has shown flashes of struggles defensively before — there were times against the Grizzlies that whether he was on Jaren Jackson Jr. or switching on the perimeter he looks his getting-up-there-in-NBA-years age of 32. Especially when so much of your success is dependent on aggression and physicality/mind games when you start to lose that step things can get more complicated. The foul trouble is evidence of that. Memphis wasn’t ready to exploit those issues fully.
Perhaps the Celtics are. Their combination of size and athleticism, alongside experience, is something Golden State hasn’t seen this offseason yet. Boston may well be the squad to quiet Draymond Green and his Warriors.
Well…maybe not Draymond. He’s still got a podcast to do.
Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals tips off in Boston at 9:00 PM ET on ABC.