Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut were teammates for four seasons.
In 2014-15, Bogut was named to the All-Defensive Second-Team, while Draymond received First-Team All-Defense honors.
"He taught me so much, man," Draymond told Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group. "Bogut -- I wouldn’t be the defender I am without Bogut. He taught me a ton. Angles. How to guard the post. You name it, he taught me a ton."
Despite the fact Bogut is no longer his teammate, Draymond has been even better defensively this year.
After finishing runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, many believe he is the favorite to win the award this season.
"I think it forced me to grow without having Bogut," Draymond explained. "Because… if I made a mistake, he would cover up for me. He was so vocal that it was always that voice that gave me that comfort, also.
"But not having that shield there, it kind of forced me to grow more. Just because I knew if I made a mistake -- Bogut’s right there at the rim, it’s getting erased. Any mistake that I made ... we were so on a string together, me and Bogut literally -- although both of us talked, we could do stuff without saying a word. He would go there and I would bounce back.
"We were so in tune together that, as much as we did talk, there were times where I wouldn’t say nothing, he wouldn’t say nothing, and it would just work out. Because we knew how to read each other and play off each other. Having Bogut there was kind of like a free pass to take chances and know that he’s going to cover up for my mistakes."
According to NBA.com:
- There are 97 players who defend at least 10.0 shots per game overall. Draymond (15.9 shots, second most) holds the opposition to 39.9 percent shooting, the second best mark in the league (Jrue Holiday, 39.3 percent on 12.2 shots).
- There are 114 players who defend at least 3.0 shots per game less than 6 feet from the rim. Draymond (5.8 shots -- 12th most) holds the opposition to 48.3 percent, the third best mark in the league (Rudy Gobert -- 47.9 percent on 7.6 shots, and Joel Embiid -- 43.9 percent on 6.0 shots).
- There are 44 players who defend at least 4.0 3-pointers per game. Draymond (4.7 shots, 14th most) holds the opposition to 29.8 percent, the third best mark in the league (LeBron James -- 28.6 percent on 4.5 shots, and Khris Middleton -- 27.5 percent on 4.0 shots).
Draymond is doing all of this without Bogut.
"Made me be more solid, made me talk even more," Draymond said. "It made me talk a lot more… everything.
"And it look a little while to figure that out at the beginning of the year because it was just different. But it definitely made me grow for sure."