The Golden State Warriors current run as the best team in the NBA has more or less been defined by the shooting ability of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and from the time he came to the Bay Area, Kevin Durant. But while those three have given the Warrior offense the firepower to outgun opponents for years, Draymond Green has hung his hat on the Dubs having one of the stingiest defenses in the league.
While he’s no slouch offensively, Green is perhaps the most versatile defender in the NBA. Green’s intellect and instincts on defense are a sight to behold — he can check just about anyone 1-on-1, and every now and then, you’ll see him break up a 2-on-1 or jump a passing lane like it’s nothing.
There has never been a defensive player quite like Green, and while history will eventually determine what that means, the Warriors standout believes it makes him the best defender in NBA history. Following Golden State’s 114-111 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night, a game that had Green’s fingerprints all over it, the versatile forward made it clear he sees himself without peer on the defensive end of the floor.
Via Marcus Thompson of The Athletic:
“The best ever defender?” Green said after the Warriors held Portland to 46 points on 38.5 percent shooting in the second half in Thursday’s 114-111 win in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
The best defender ever?
“Me.” Green punctuated his declaration with a nod as he strutted out of the locker room with a smile. But he wasn’t joking. “That’s what I believe. Wholeheartedly.”
Without trying to disagree with Green or discount how good he is as a defender, it’s awfully hard to judge this across eras with how much the game has evolved over the years — Bill Russell never got switched onto James Harden, Michael Jordan never had to slow down Giannis Antetokounmpo in a big spot, Kawhi Leonard never played in an era where he could get worn down from constant hand-checking, all that stuff you’ve heard a billion times. Still, Green is as good as there ever has been, and if not for this, it’s fair to wonder if the Warriors would have ever been as formidable as they’ve been on their current run.