Welcome to “Basketball, Neat.” This is an intermittent column throughout the 2015-16 NBA season where DIME will discuss some basketball play or trend without extraneous information.
If you’re a fan of single-malt Scotch, you should be familiar with ordering a drink, neat. That’s what this is, but with basketball. So there will be none of the usual contextual or superficial noise you might hear on Twitter or even in our pieces at DIME. This isn’t some referendum on basketball coverage or anything quite so lofty; it’s just a tiny place to talk exclusively about hoops. We’d like to nerd out about basketball for a little bit before we go back to the overarching culture of basketball and the NBA we normally cover. We hope you like it, but it’s primarily just a selfish way to publish what we’re already talking about with each other.
Perhaps the only downside to Golden State’s 10-0 rampage to start the season is the belief that it’s simply attributable to Steph Curry’s smoldering jumper. But while Curry’s assault on our senses may be redefining what a player his size is capable of affecting, he’s able to cause so much destruction because the personnel around him is perfectly calibrated to his strengths, and no teammate is more perfectly constructed than Draymond Green.
The undersized power forward and small-ball center is more well-known for his defense and his mouth, but he’s become an overall force just as capable of hurting other teams with the ball in his hands as he is sniffing out what the opposition is going to do when they’re trying to drop that ball through his team’s basket.
Never is his primacy as a playmaker more apparent then when he’s teamed with Steph on those high screens that have become impossible to defend. It’s precisely because of how impressive Green has gotten when he receives the pass from Steph with a little space before reaching the defense’s backline that’s turned them into the most effective duo in the NBA (at least with a minimum of 200 minutes together so far this season). After Curry’s shooting forces opposing teams to try and play a 4-on-3, Green has become a master at leading the resulting one-man advantage in the cramped confines of a half court.
Spencer: Green has morphed into such a comfortable release valve when defenses spring the second defender to hedge on his high screens for Steph. As any Steph studier knows, if the opposing big doesn’t hedge, and hedge hard, this can happen:
This double screen is just as effective because of Steph’s range: