Warriors

Warriors' Draymond Green rated as best NBA defender by FiveThirtyEight

Warriors' Draymond Green rated as best NBA defender by FiveThirtyEight

You know you're either really good or really bad at something if they name a statistic after you.

In the case of Warriors forward Draymond Green, it's most definitely the former option.

The former Defensive Player of the Year has long been regarded as one of the top all-around defenders in the NBA. However, the ways in which we've been able to evaluate defensive performance up to this point haven't painted the whole picture. Blocks and steals are good, sure, but there's a lot more that goes into being a good defender then simply collecting stats in those categories. 

Similarly, the league-provided opponent shooting data can produce the unintended consequence of punishing good defenders, simply due to being the nearest defender to the shot. After all, if the defender hadn't been there at all, there's no guarantee anyone else would have, and some defense is typically better than none. 

It's with that disconnect in mind that FiveThirtyEight set out to develop a better way to evaluate NBA defense. And which player have they chosen to name their model after?

None other than Green, of course.

FiveThirtyEight's 'DRAYMOND' metric stands for Defensive Rating Accounting for Yielding Minimal Openness by Nearest Defender. A mouthful, I know.

But don't be daunted by the name. Without dumbing it down too much, DRAYMOND essentially calculates a player's effectiveness at minimizing the openness of opponent shots, relative to the rest of the league. It's a plus-minus statistic measured per 100 possessions, where a score of 0 represents average defense.

And, among all players who have played at least 10,000 possessions over the last six seasons, guess who rates out as the top defender, according to DRAYMOND?

That's right. Draymond. Duh.

Since the 2013-14 season, Green leads all such players with a DRAYMOND rating of plus-3.16, meaning he's been worth an average of 3.16 points per 100 possessions of defensive value over that span based on his scoring defense alone. That doesn't even factor in the other ways (blocks, steals, etc.) in which he makes a more traditionally measured defensive impact.

What's even more impressive is that Green has played far and away the most possessions (38,282) over that span of any of the top-ranked players according to DRAYMOND. Only two other players in the top-20 have played at least 30,000 possessions over the last six seasons.

After Green, DRAYMOND ranks Philadelphia's Joel Embiid, Dallas' Kristaps Porzingis, Utah's Rudy Gobert (the reigning Defensive Player of the Year), Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, Oklahoma City's Andre Roberson and Los Angeles' Anthony Davis as the best defenders dating back to 2013-14, which -- for the most part -- passes the eye test.

Green took a step back defensively last season, though, posting a DRAYMOND rating of plus-1.76 points per 100 possessions. However, only one other NBA player -- Giannis Antetokounmpo -- played more possessions than Green and rated higher.

Golden State's best defender last season, according to DRAYMOND? That would be Kevon Looney, who ranked eighth-best in the NBA with a DRAYMOND rating of plus-2.72 points per 100 possessions.

[RELATED: Warriors won't let anyone forget greatness of dynastic run]

As the saying goes, there are lies, damn lies and statistics. But based on the results produced by the DRAYMOND metric, it seems to do a better job of highlighting the top defenders in the league than the more rudimentary statistics we've generally relied upon until now.

Green believes he's the best defender in the NBA. Now DRAYMOND does, too.

Warriors' Steve Kerr casts doubt on Steph Curry's March 1 return date

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Warriors' Steve Kerr casts doubt on Steph Curry's March 1 return date

SAN FRANCISCO -- As the return of Steph Curry looms, Warriors coach Steve Kerr cast doubt on his targeted March 1 return date against the Wizards, citing Curry's lack of full-speed reps in recent days. 

"He’s only scrimmaged twice," Kerr said following Wednesday's practice. "In fact, I think he needs to scrimmage more before he’s ready to play. We’ll see how it all plays out."

Curry -- who broke his hand Oct. 30 -- participated in a scrimmage Wednesday morning, in a run that included Draymond Green, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Dragan Bender, assistant coaches Luke Loucks and Theo Robertson and Seth Tarver -- who played collegiately at Oregon State and is a longtime friend of guard Klay Thompson. This is the second scrimmage for Curry during his rehab process. On Saturday, Curry also participated in a scrimmage. As he progressed, The Athletic reported that Curry will indeed make his debut Sunday against the Wizards, in line with what Curry has said on record in recent days.

Nonetheless, Kerr pushed back on the notion that the date is a formality. 

"I think yesterday’s report, which was news to us, is not official," Kerr said. "Nothing’s official. Steph will play when he’s ready to go. That date has been something that’s for sure on Steph’s mind. But he’ll play when we all feel like he’s ready to go. I think he needs some more scrimmage time." 

[RELATED: Warriors excited to watch Steph, Wiggins together]

Sunday's targeted return date is a culmination of a rigorous rehabilitation stretch. In December, the two-time MVP underwent his second surgery to remove a screw in the second metacarpal. Since the surgery, Curry frequently has been seen on road trips participating in strenuous workouts following practices. Still, Kerr says the guard may not be ready.

"He’s been out for four months and he’s been doing a ton of individual work. But to put someone in an NBA game, you have to feel really, really comfortable that everything is there conditioning-wise, strength-wise," Kerr said. "And a lot of that you can’t simulate unless it’s actual basketball. He’s done everything that Rick [Celebrini] has asked of him and more. His individual workouts have been taxing but two scrimmages against non-NBA players -- no offense to them -- doesn’t exactly qualify as perfect preparation."

In the interim, Curry -- who was averaging 23.5 points in four-game prior to the injury -- will participate in scheduled practices Wednesday and Friday before his re-evaluation on Saturday. 

NBA rumors: Ex-Warrior Andre Iguodala didn't plan on joining Heat

NBA rumors: Ex-Warrior Andre Iguodala didn't plan on joining Heat

The Memphis Grizzlies shipped former Warriors forward Andre Iguodala to the Miami Heat the day before the NBA trade deadline.

It wasn't shocking to learn that Iguodala was on the move. That was expected.

But what did cause the basketball world collectively to say, 'Whoa,' was when we learned that the 2015 NBA Finals MVP agreed to a two-year extension that would pay him $30 million ($15 million guaranteed because there's a $15 million team option in 2021-22).

The Athletic's Shams Charania recently was a guest on the Pardon My Take podcast and shed some light on how the transaction went down:

"Andre Iguodala had no idea or intention in his mind to go play for Miami this year. None. (He'd) rather just stay at home in Silicon Valley. He had a part-time job in Silicon Valley. And he was telling anybody who would listen, 'I'm good.' I don't have the name of the firm off the top of my head...

"I said that they (the Heat) emerged as a suitor on Tuesday morning (two days before the deadline). And at that point, I was like, 'You know what, it's probably not gonna happen, let me just get it out there, at least get some buzz going.'

"And then as the day wore on, it's like 'Pat (Riley) might call and talk to Andre.' And then the next day, it's 'Pat Riley and Andre Iguodala got on a call and Pat sold Andre.'"

First off, it sounded like Charania had more information to disclose, but the conversation completely changed course because he had some business to deal with:

Secondly, what company was he working for?! 

[RELATED: Why Iguodala wasn't ready for his time with Warriors to end]

Third of all, isn't it a great visual to imagine Riley recruiting Iguodala and sealing the deal? You gotta love it.

In six games with the Heat so far, the 36-year-old is averaging 4.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 blocks, while shooting just under 39 percent (5-for-13) from deep.

It will be a lot of fun watching Iguodala in the playoffs.

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