Editor's note: Amid the current climate, it's looking increasingly likely we'll be away from basketball for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, NBC Sports Bay Area will take a look at each player on the Warriors' roster and examine how their performance will fit with the roster long term. Next up is forward Draymond Green.
Warriors forward Draymond Green entered last season fresh off signing a four year, $100 million extension based off his championship-laden tenure in Golden State. Now, after the worst season of his career, he has to remind why he's a franchise pillar.
3 years / $77 million left
Green's eighth season brought a lot of losing, injuries and poor play from the former Defensive Player of the Year. In 43 games, he averaged 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists, but shot just 38 percent. With Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry out for much of the season, Green struggled, often getting lost during many games. Of his 43 starts, he scored 20 or more points just once. Worse, his defense lagged, as he posted a career-low 110 defensive rating.
Along the way, he momentarily transitioned into a locker room leader for the young roster, frequently putting his arm around rookies Eric Paschall and Jordan Poole.
"I can go to him for anything,” Poole said. "If I have any questions or we want to hang out, want to go get food. If I do something wrong, he'll tell me. If I'm doing something good, he'll encourage me. It's just kind of like a big brother, little brother relationship."
The young group blossomed under Green's tutelage. Paschall averaged 19.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists over his final seven games, while Poole rounded out into a solid shooter, impressing their veteran teammate.
"I like them a lot," Green said of the Warriors’ young players. "They're not backing down from anyone. They got a lot to learn, which is to be expected. But one thing you can't really teach is confidence. And they don't lack in that area, which is important for them moving forward in this league."
While Green's value was shown off the court, he'll need to do more to justify his $100 million extension next season.
Green's production should go up next year with Thompson and Curry back in the fold. As history suggests, Green plays better when two factors are present: a championship level roster and a chip on his shoulder.
With Thompson and Curry, he'll be on a contender, and the thought of Golden State not being the favorites will motivate him. Flashes of Green's prowess came in spurts last season, including a 20-point, 11-rebound Christmas Day performance in a win over the Houston Rockets.
However, his inconsistent play drew the ire of the coaching staff towards the end of the season, especially as his technical foul count rose amid the losses. But the Warriors know what Green can bring when engaged, now it's on him to bring a reminder next season.
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