Draymond Green's recent hot shooting adds lethal dimension to Warriors

Draymond Green's recent hot shooting adds lethal dimension to Warriors

OAKLAND -- Deep into his seventh season playing alongside Draymond Green, Stephen Curry has seen and heard just about everything his firebrand teammate has to offer on the court, from defense and rebounding, to playmaking and tantrums.

But on Friday night, Green came up with something new.

“Tonight was the first time I’ve seen Draymond apologize for a ‘heat check,'" Curry said after a 120-114 win over the Cavaliers.

A ‘heat check’ is a impulsive shot one takes to test the limits of his rhythm at that particular moment. 'How hot am I?' It’s usually associated with such scorers as Klay Thompson or Curry, two of the best long-distance shooters in NBA history.

Green, however, is the one Warriors starter teams dare to fire at will. Please, anybody other than Curry or Thompson or Kevin Durant or DeMarcus Cousins (who rested on Friday).

Scoring is not Draymond’s forte. The Warriors ask a lot of him and he usually provides. He leads the team in assists and steals, is second in rebounding and third in blocks. He also defends all five positions, sometimes three in a single possession.

But now he has the gall to add scoring to his repertoire. He’s not only contributing points, he’s also doing it efficiently including from -- of all places -- the 3-point line. He scored a season-high 20 points Friday on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. He also totaled eight rebounds and five assists, the kind of statistics expected of Green.

If this is the way he’s going play it, the Warriors have the capacity to torture opponents five different ways.

“It’s obviously a huge confidence boost, because of the way teams defend us, picking and choosing who they’re going to shade and send help to and things like that,” Curry said. “Everybody on the floor’s got to be a threat and be able to finish off plays.”

Green’s shooting percentage from beyond the arc has remained in the 20's all season; he entered the game Friday shooting 28 percent from deep. No need to bother defending that.

Lately, though, he has been splashing at a rate usually reserved for the likes of Curry and Thompson. He’s 16-of-38 (42.1 percent) over his last 12 games.

[RELATED: Watch 'Swag Champ' finally get his ring from Draymond]

Green attributes his current shooting to feeling healthy and being more assertive with his shot, avoiding hesitation, getting his legs into it and letting it fly.

This scoring thing smacked the poor Cavaliers, who were willing to give Green all the 25-footers he wanted, right upside their unexpecting heads.

“That was the game plan,” said Larry Nance, the Cleveland power forward assigned to defend Green at a distance. “And he shot us out of it.”

“Kudos to him. Those other guys go without saying. Steph is Steph, KD is KD, Klay is Klay. And those guys are going to do what they’re going to do. Draymond hurt us tonight.”

On his third shot in the first 82 seconds -- all 3-pointers -- Green finally missed, after which Curry rejected his apology. After opening the game with back-to-back 3-pointers inside the first minute, a delightful surprise to the sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, Curry knew Green had earned that privilege.

After all, he may never get another.

If Green continues to make deep shots with 40-percent accuracy, teams won’t have a choice. They’ll have to guard him. They can’t risk sagging off him to double-team DeMarcus Cousins in the post or blitz Curry on the perimeter.

Curry is all for it, as is coach Steve Kerr.

“He does so many other things for us that we don’t need him to score,” Kerr said of Green. “But when he does, it’s gravy.”

For the Warriors, yes. For opponents, the idea of Green as an efficient and productive shooter is a toxin for which there is no antidote.

2020 NBA Draft sleepers: Can Jaden McDaniels develop into Kevin Durant?

2020 NBA Draft sleepers: Can Jaden McDaniels develop into Kevin Durant?

Editor's note: As the Warriors prepare for the 2020 NBA draft, during which they will have a lottery pick for the first time since 2012, NBC Sports Bay Area will present a twice-weekly series spotlighting two players expected to be evaluated. This is the seventh of a 12-part series over the next six weeks.

The long and exceedingly lean physique is reminiscent of a Brandon Ingram or a Jonathan Isaac or a Chris Boucher. Or even a young Kevin Durant.

That the resume is as thin as frame partly explains why Jaden McDaniels is a bit of a sleeper. After one season at the University of Washington, there is a chance he’ll sneak into the lottery but it’s more likely he’ll be drafted later in the first round.

Potential is why McDaniels is on the radar of NBA teams, including the Warriors. If Golden State trades out of the top five and drops toward the middle of the draft, McDaniels likely will be available. His game is, at his best, is stellar.

McDaniels is as comfortable playing above the rim as pulling up from deep. Despite being 6-foot-10, he handles well enough to score off the dribble. In his collegiate debut, he scored 18 pounds, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots in an upset win over mighty Baylor.

Indeed, it is McDaniels’ combination of small forward finesse and power forward length that caught the attention of opposing coaches and NBA scouts.

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Those scouts already knew McDaniels was a five-star prospect at Federal Way High in the Seattle area. They’d already seen the clips, including those in which McDaniels, perhaps bored, would finish in transition by lobbing balls off the backboard to himself for dunks.

They also glimpsed red flags. McDaniels was prone to turnovers. His shot selection was spotty. There was some inconsistency insofar as some nights McDaniels was the best player on the floor and other nights he was liability to the Huskies.

It also will concern front offices that McDaniels displayed fits of immaturity. That was a factor in him leading the Pac-12 Conference in technical fouls with six. He also fouled out eight times in 31 games. At one point of the season, McDaniels was benched by Huskies coach Mike Hopkins, who was displeased with a spate of fouls and poor judgment.

McDaniels is, in this regard, not unlike teenage Marquese Chriss, who struggled in his first three NBA seasons but exhibited clear signs of maturity after joining the Warriors last fall.

McDaniels, however, has a deeper basket of pure offensive skills and possesses the ability to defend at least three positions. The comps in most mock drafts – such as Ingram and Isaac – are not so much about what he is than about what he can be.

If McDaniels, the younger brother of Hornets guard Jalen McDaniels, matures nicely contains his emotions and adds 10-15 pounds to his frame there is a reasonable chance he can become a star. It’s rare that someone with his size/skill combination comes along.

[RELATED: Could Cassius Winston follow Draymond?]

Some team will be willing to take that chance. McDaniels is a longshot for the Warriors, but any play they make for him will come only after they’ve gone beyond the tantalizing gifts and come away convinced their culture can help him reach his ceiling.

Jaden McDaniels

Position: Forward
Class: Freshman
Birthdate: Sept. 29, 2000 (19)
Hometown: Federal Way, Wash.
2019-20 stats: 13.0 points (40.5 percent FG, 33.9 percent 3p, 76.3 percent FT), 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 blocks.
Height: 6-foot-10
Weight: 200
Wingspan: 7 feet
What they’re saying: “You know the funny thing is, and I don’t mean funny to make a joke, but only really good players can lead a league in (turnovers and fouls). You go take a look at the all-time leaders on those lists and it’s nothing but Hall of Famers. I say that to say, how good must Jaden be to where he’s giving you so much that it outweighs those things you don’t like? And the answer is, he’s really, really good. Now as a coach, you have to ask yourself: ‘What can I live with and how can we curb some of those erratic behaviors?’” – former Warriors coach and current NBA/NCAA analyst P.J. Carlesimo, to the Seattle Times.

Ranking Warriors' seven most important trades over last 20 years

Ranking Warriors' seven most important trades over last 20 years

Nothing can get the NBA conversation ablaze more than trade talk, so let's dissect the best trades the Warriors have made in the last 20 years. 

For the better half of the 1990's and 2000's, the Warriors struggled mightily to pull off a trade in their favor. The notorious Chris Webber deal and many more poor decisions plummeted Golden State to the cellar of the league standings for many years. 

However, starting in 2005, the Warriors slowly began to swing the pendulum the other way leading to the We Believe years and the future historic dynasty. Let's take a look back.

[RELATED: Warriors' five worst trades]

Here are the best 7 trades the Warriors have made in the last 20 years.


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