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Being titled the “Best Player” on an NBA team identifies that particular player as the “Go to guy” or the most dependable with the best skill set. This label also entails the gift or curse of being the hero or the goat and taking the credit or the blame. As you can see, the best player is usually the most important but is there anyway someone else can be the most valuable on the team.
The Golden State Warriors will enter their 44th game as 39-4 for the year. The team is lead by Stephen Curry, the seventh year veteran. Curry, by far is the best player on the team. He leads the league in scoring averaging 29.9 and is the most lethal shooter in the NBA this year (maybe in history). Yet still, he is not the most valuable player on the Warriors team this year.
Draymond Green has always been know as a scrappy player who gives you 100% during the entire game. He could be too energized and start a little trouble every now and then but he would give you every thing he had and did all the dirty work. Now he is know as their most productive and efficient player. Green has elevated his game to an All-Star status this year. Although Curry has been the most valuable player in the league, Green has been the most valuable for the Warriors.
Green’s numbers has improved drastically each year he’s been in the league. The fourth year starter is averaging 14.7 ppg, 7.3 apg (leads the team) and 9.6 rpg (leads the team). The numbers don’t tell it all. He’s their best defensive player who guards the best opposing team’s front court player and that’s anybody from LeBron James to Anthony Davis. On the offensive side, he creates matchup problems that cause coaches headaches trying to come up with solutions. He’s too quick with great range and passing ability to be guarded by power forwards and centers yet too powerful, strong and tenacious to be guarded by small forwards.
Unequivocally, he’s the most important piece to the puzzle. His ability to set the perfect screen and decipher between rolling to the basket or staying home for the three point shot is underrated. The man guarding him is in no man’s land worrying about guarding Curry or the shooter or sticking with Green. Either way, the mismatch has been set.
Speaking of decision making, is there any “big men in the league” who is more whittier than Green when the ball is in his hands? His assist are not just because he has great shooters around. The Michigan State alumni usually makes the right decision whether passing it to the right guy or scoring. His ability to shoot the three, drive or dish out to the open player or even create for his teammate freezes the defender(s). Either or, he’s dangerous with the ball and continues to make the right decisions.
Although his stats are up this season, his importance to the team still goes unnoticed. Green is their best defender, best rebounder and now their best assist man and not to mention he does all of the dirty work for them. We know that Curry is their best player and Klay Thompson is very good offensively and defensively but both player’s game might suffer some if Green is not there to set screens, make great passes and steal extra possessions.
If you are counting, the Warriors are 0-1 without Green in the lineup this year.