Warriors

Draymond, Jazz coach Snyder right about Green's MVP case

Warriors

Draymond Green spent the last few days realizing he has the same attention span as his 5-year-old son. As the Warriors star tried to watch an hour of a movie or show, he would catch himself checking his phone or being distracted by something else while he quarantined as part of the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols. 

What Green didn't miss, though, was Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder making the case for Green being in the NBA MVP conversation on Saturday ahead of the Warriors beating Snyder's Jazz, 123-116, without Draymond. 

“I don’t think I have to qualify this by saying no disrespect to Steph [Curry] or Rudy [Gobert], but Draymond Green is as unique a player and is having as good of a year," Snyder said. "If you want to put someone in the MVP conversation, he’s someone to me, that’s -- the numbers don’t look as … they don’t match up to some of the numbers of some other guys put up, but as far as the way he impacts the game, whether it’s his passing, his defense, which, you obviously know how we feel about Rudy’s versatility and the things that he does, and Draymond is like that. He just does it in his way.

“And then you add the leadership that he shows and the way he communicates. I just think he’s an unbelievable player and I think he’s showing that this year. He’s shown it before, but it stands out so much right now when you watch them play.”

 

Snyder's comments went a long way for Green. Not just because he enjoys the respect and admiration, but because it came from a voice he places among the best in basketball. 

"I appreciate him for that. I agree with him," Green said Monday to reporters, hours before he returns for the Warriors' game against the Miami Heat. "I think that's someone who sees the game for what it is. Like his comments said, 'He don't go out and get the numbers, he just kind of does it in his own way.'

"I don't think it could have been explained any better."

Scorers like Curry and Kevin Durant likely would be at the front of an early-season MVP race -- if there ever were such a thing. They happen to be the NBA's top-two scorers, while also having a huge impact on their teams, who are the best squads in their respective conferences. Curry is averaging 27.7 points per game and Durant is leading the league at 29.8. 

Green is at just 8.4 points per game, which is nis his most since he was an All-Star in the 2017-18 season and went on to score 11.0 points per game. 

But it's no surprise the Warriors scored a season-low 86 points in a three-point loss to the Denver Nuggets when Green missed his first game to the health and safety protocols. The 116 points they allowed in their win over the Jazz was the second-most they have allowed this season. He also missed their season-high of allowing 119 points in a loss to the Toronto Raptors earlier in the season.

On both sides of the ball, it's clear what a difference Draymond makes. 

Green has missed four games this season. The Warriors have lost two of those, in a season where they have lost only seven games through their first 35 contests.

"I'm not going to go out and make an MVP case by stacking my numbers up against Steph Curry or Kevin Durant or Giannis [Antetokounmpo]," Green said. "It's not gonna be that. But I think the way I impact the game, the things that I do on the floor are the things that I do in fact to impact winning.

"I think there's something to be said for that."

Defensively, Green has been a genius this season. He's the quarterback of the defense, roaming around as a feared strong safety. His 6.8 defensive rebounds are the second-most of his career and his 99 defensive rating is the same dominant score that it was when he was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2016-17. 

Green is the only player who can go a quarter shutting down Durant, to then being asked to take on a true center while being generously listed at 6-foot-6.

 

He has been just as brilliant on offense, too. His 7.5 assists per game are the second-most of his career, he leads the NBA in assist ratio at 41.9 and his 111 offensive rating is tied for the second-best of his career.

What really sets him apart is his sixth sense for Steph. Like Joe Montana closing his eyes and knowing where Jerry Rice would be, Green and Curry have the same bond on the hardwood. He knows Curry's random movements and race track around the court, he can find him when it seems like there isn't even a sliver of space and the Warriors' offense is at its best when Green is pushing the pace as the game's most versatile point-forward. 

RELATED: NBA Power Rankings: Warriors still No. 1 as Klay's return nears

No, Green won't find his name in the MVP conversation, an award that might as well be the Best Offensive Player on the best team with a sprinkle of defense tossed in there. He knows he doesn't need to make his case or have anybody else do it for him. That doesn't change how much it meant to hear it from Snyder.

"It really meant a lot," Green said. "That's someone who I truly respect as a basketball mind. ... That is someone who I think is a great basketball mind and truly understands the game. Commands respect, not only from his team but around the league and definitely has my respect.

"So, I was appreciative of that."

After a two-game absence, Green will return to the court Monday night against Miami, and it likely won't take much time for him to again announce himself as one of the game's most valuable players.

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