Warriors

Klay calls Draymond 'most unique defender' in NBA history

Warriors

As Klay Thompson was donning his reporter headset and providing commentary during Saturday night's Warriors game against the Detroit Pistons, Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike were curious about the injured star's thoughts on rookie James Wiseman. But before Thompson could get into analyzing the 19-year-old's play, he got distracted by some great on-ball defense from Draymond Green.

"Sorry guys I'm paying attention to this great defense on the block by Draymond, look at that," Klay said during the telecast. "Draymond is one of the most unique defenders in NBA history, there's not a lot of guys like him."

Green was isolated on Pistons star Blake Griffin, and the 6-foot-9 power forward couldn't back Draymond down too far before ultimately passing the ball out to the wing.

Draymond is an especially rare player in today's NBA, when point guards now stand 6-foot-9 with some teams and 7-foot players like Nikola Jokic and Giannis run their team's offenses. Although he's often shorter than his matchup, Draymond has been one of the league's best defenders for the past half-decade, even taking home the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award in 2017.

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He is one of the best cases of the shift toward positionless basketball in the NBA, as he guards just about every position throughout the course of the game, staying in front of swift guards and not being out-maneuvered by power forwards and centers in the post.

Green's influence seems to have rubbed off on Andrew Wiggins, who has shed his reputation as a lackadaisical defender and been borderline elite on that end throughout the first 20 games of the season.

 

Thompson also prides himself on being an engaged and physical defender, and once he can return to the court next season, the Warriors' defense could be pretty elite with Green and rookie rim protector Wiseman having a full NBA campaign under his belt.