Draymond Green’s numbers have fallen shy of his 2017-18 Defensive Player of the Year campaign, yet on Saturday, he was the old hard-chasing, shot-disrupting, pocket-picking nightmare that we saw throughout a dominant 15-1 postseason run by the Golden State Warriors.
Yet many have doubted his defensive impact, and if he’s even capable of replicating a campaign like he had last season, becoming the very heart of the Warriors’ defensive scheme.
“It’s not necessarily hard to build off of, but I had an amazing year defensively last year. It was incredible,” said Green, according to Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News. “I hold myself to that standard and always want to reach that level of greatness, if you will.”
“That doesn’t always happen. In saying that, teams still don’t want me in their action. They’re still waiting me out on the pick and roll and trying to get me out away from the play. I still know I can take the game over defensively on any given night.”
Green finished a couple of rebounds shy of a triple-double on a 21-point Game 1 win over the San Antonio Spurs, but it didn’t make his performance any less impressive — finishing with 12 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, two steals, and a block.
Historically, Green has always performed better when challenged — whether it is by a coach or pundits, it takes a special turn of the key to set him ablaze. So long as he can be in control of his emotions, Green is capable of being a game-changer at any point, DPOY or not.