Warriors

Simmons extremely confused by Draymond's offensive decline

Warriors
Draymond Green Celtics pass

Let me be the first to say that the Warriors certainly would like to see Draymond Green shoot the ball better. They will have the opportunity to win more games if he improves his shooting percentages.

The three-time NBA champion through 17 games is at 33.3 percent overall and 19.4 percent from beyond the arc. Those numbers are abysmal.

Draymond in Golden State's loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night was 1-for-7 overall and 0-for-3 from 3-point range.

So it wasn't a surprise to hear The Ringer's Bill Simmons offer these thoughts on the three-time NBA All-Star during the most recent episode of "The Bill Simmons Podcast."

"I was watching Draymond Green tonight wondering what the hell happened to him offensively," he said. "I went on his Basketball Reference page -- which was both a mistake because it just sent me essentially in a tailspin for a half hour and I was barely even watching the Celtics-Warriors game ... but also I'm glad I did it.

"He has completely given up on himself as a scorer. I'm not saying he's a bad player. I'm just confused. I don't understand how somebody who was such a potent offensive player -- and somebody who was even better in the playoffs than in the regular season ...

"What happened? Is he settling into a different point of his career or is something weird happening that just might be an aberration? I don't know if this is who Draymond is. I don't know if this is a slump. I don't know if he has psyched himself out. But the weird thing is -- they really need his offense.

 

"Whatever is going on, I think it's one of the weirder basketball subplots I can remember. After the 2019 season, I would have said Draymond's probably a Hall of Famer. I don't know now.

"He's like this weird 2021 version of playmaking Ben Wallace, who doesn't rebound as much."

Again, the shooting numbers are not good and need to improve. There's no denying that. But context is vitally important when looking at Draymond from a macro level.

Watch the latest episode of Warriors Outsiders

He was beyond incredible in 2015-16, averaging 14.0 points and 7.4 assists, while shooting 49 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from deep. Draymond could not have been more motivated, as the Warriors were looking to defend their title and were going after the record for most wins in a single season in league history.

Then Kevin Durant arrived and Draymond knew that the Warriors didn't truly need his scoring on a nightly basis. So while his percentages dipped during the regular season, he shot nearly 45 percent overall and 41 percent from 3-point territory during the 2017 playoffs (and averaged 13.1 points per game).

The following year, he averaged 11.0 points and 7.3 assists over 70 games, and made 45.4 percent of his shots. And in case you need a reminder -- against the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2018 Western Conference semifinals, he averaged 14.8 points and 10.0 assists, while shooting 49 percent overall and 40 percent from deep.

Since we're here, let's remind you of something else. In the 2019 Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers, Draymond averaged 16.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 2.8 blocks and 2.3 steals. He shot 54.2 percent from the floor. Those numbers are off the charts and still don't accurately sum up how dominant he was. It was special.

As for last season, you completely throw the whole thing out the window. The Warriors were decimated by injuries, Draymond knew it was a lost year and the guy needed a break physically and mentally.

Heading into this season, the 30-year-old was extremely eager to elevate his game back to All-Star levels and help lead Golden State back to title contention. But disaster struck when Klay Thompson tore his right Achilles tendon the morning of the NBA draft on Nov. 18. Then, Draymond missed all of training camp and the first four games of the season as he worked his way into shape after being sidelined because of the league's COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

So when will he finally return to the peak version of himself?

 

"I think I'm like two to three weeks away," Draymond told the media after last Saturday's win over the Detroit Pistons. "Just continuing to get in better shape. My speed is kind of getting there.

"It's definitely coming. I'm excited about it. It's good to see the work starting to pay off. Starting to build up some continuity and some feel."

And from a conditioning/energy standpoint, Tuesday's performance vs. the Celtics easily was the best Draymond has looked all season.

If Draymond remains fully healthy all season, the scoring/shooting naturally will improve and the Warriors will be just fine.

And when it comes to the big picture:

And lastly, in case you were wondering what Simmons believes when it comes to the Warriors' championship aspirations in the short and long term:

"The league is way better now. You're not gonna actually contend for a title with Klay, Curry, Draymond and the other guys on this team," he declared. "That's a team that loses in Round 2 if Klay is 100 percent."

Duly noted.

P.S. -- Draymond 100 percent will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

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