Warriors

Why Draymond's basketball IQ is key to his versatility

Warriors
Warriors' Draymond Green

Few players are a better example of this "position-less" era of basketball than Warriors star Draymond Green.

Green, with the body of an undersized power forward, is capable of bringing up the ball  and initiating Golden State's offense on one end of the court and defending point guards and centers on the other.

“I’ll guarantee you [the Warriors] could say, ‘Draymond, play the one, play three, play five,’ and he would pick them all up -- he just has a knack,” Tom Izzo, Green's coach at Michigan State, told Yahoo Sports' Seerat Sohi in a feature story published Friday.

Green has made a name (and quite a lot of money) for himself because of that versatility, winning three championships, a Defensive Player of the Year Award and earning five All-Defensive and two All-NBA nods. The 30-year-old's utility is built atop a foundation of an impeccable basketball IQ, according to longtime trainer Travis Walton.

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Walton worked as an assistant for the Utah Jazz's G League affiliate from 2014 through '17, earning an appreciation for how Jazz head coach Quin Snyder stayed ahead of scouting reports by making subtle changes to his playbook.

Most scouting reports, at least until Green got a glimpse ahead of Golden State's second-round playoff matchup with Utah in 2017. Walton told Sohi that Green was able to list the Jazz's offensive changes, down to the "angles of the screens" they set, in a film session.

 

That happened a day after Green caught passing glimpses of the Jazz offense while running errands in his own home.

“Just being around the game, that’s a basketball genius and a person with a photogenic memory,” Walton told Sohi.

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After missing the first four games of the season, Green has been a boost for the Warriors since debuting Jan. 1. Golden State was 2-2 without Green and is 4-4 with him, but the performances are largely night and day. The Warriors' offensive (107.0) and defensive ratings (105.2) since Green's return are far better than their ratings without him (98.2 and 112.5, respectively).

Green can be counted on in a way so few of his peers in the NBA can, and that's in large part because of his smarts. The Warriors, and Green, would be way worse off without them.