Golden State Warriors: A Healthy Draymond Green Could Play a Key Role


Nov 19, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Draymond Green (23) looks to set the play during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Warriors defeated the Mavericks 105-101. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

White, blue and gold are the Golden State Warriors’ featured colors, but Green could be a valuable contribution to this spectrum — Draymond Green, that is.

Green’s rookie season was quite a rollercoaster ride. He averaged 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game. His best moment of the year came in a contest versus the the infamous Miami Heat on December 12. With eight seconds to go amidst a tie game, Jack handled the basketball beyond the three-point line as he surveyed the court. After nearly fooling LeBron James into thinking that he was going to shoot, Jack discharged a bullet-pass to Green, who snuck into the baseline and hit the layup to win the game.

However, the second-round-draft-pick was a bulky 248 pounds last season, which hindered his agility. Not only that, but Green has developed tendinitis in his right knee which certainly hasn’t done him any favors. Consequently, the six-foot-seven small forward experienced difficulty getting up and down the court, as his stamina rapidly decayed. He shot an abominable 32% from the field last year in part to his knee related issues.

Green looks to take on a bigger load for the Warriors this season while simultaneously relieving his knees of hefty pressure. He dropped 15-20 pounds during the offseason and now stands at 231 pounds. Green rectified some of his tendencies to display a more svelte form.

“One of the main things I did was change up my diet, just making sure I eat healthier,” Green said after a Summer League game. “I’m also doing a lot of extra cardio, doing a lot more lifting, and really just staying in the gym working out.”

He also commented on the by-product of his transformation: “I catch my breath faster. I move a little faster. I can get up off the floor a little bit better. And it feels a lot better on my knees. I feel great. I think it’s going to help me out a lot.”

Credited for “cleaning up” around the basket (including layups, dunks, put-back and tip-ins) Green’s reduced weight will rejuvenate his quickness at the top of the key, as well as retain his tenacity on defense. His ability to drive and get to the free throw line is much improved as he showcased in the Summer League games, and head coach Mark Jackson signified his approval.

“I like the way he is passing up some shots, putting the ball on the floor and drawing contact,” said Jackson. “That put him in position to make some free throws for us down the stretch of the ballgame. Draymond has been consistent. Obviously he has worked on his body a lot.”

Jackson affirmed his trust in Green by bestowing him boosted minutes in the playoffs, and Green showed promise of a prosperous future. In Game 6 of the 2012-2013 playoffs against the Denver Nuggets, Green scored 16 points, grabbed 10 big rebounds, and energized the Warriors en route to their first round upset.

Jackson compared Green to a prominent role player from the Western Conference Champions San Antonio Spurs. “He’s a guy we have confidence in as a ‘3’ and as a stretch ‘4,’ ” Jackson commented. “He’s feeling more and more comfortable on the floor and trusting his jumper more. He’s going to get those shots and eventually will be able to do those things we saw Boris Diaw do (for San Antonio).”

Diaw played exceptional defense on Miami’s star Lebron James, who is considered the best player in the league by far. People may disparage the Warriors’ bench this season due to Jack and Landry’s departure, but they tend to disregard players such as Draymond, who may prove to be diamonds in the rough. Green may startlingly be a key piece to a championship puzzle.