Draymond Green has always been the center of the Warriors' defensive identity.
Last year, Green was particularly crucial to the Warriors finishing with a top-10 ranked defense, and he even finished third in the league's Defensive Player of the Year voting (behind Rudy Gobert and Ben Simmons). When he wasn't on the court, it was obvious something was missing on that end of the floor -- his younger teammates looked loss and there was an overall lack of aggression.
This season, the Warriors need him to do it all over again. But, they should also be looking for him to get more involved on the offensive end.
Will Green be able to become a scoring threat?
In the past, Green has excelled as a fourth scorer, averaging 11.7 points per game, shooting 44.7 percent overall and 33.7 from distance during the 2014-15 season. In more recent years, Green hasn't been asked to take on as much of an offensive role. But, as the Warriors wait for Klay Thompson to return, and as they integrate a slew of new players, they should ask Green to at least look to be a scorer.
Through the first two preseason games, it looks like he understands that.
Against the Portland Trail Blazers, Green's first shot of the game was a no-hesitation three. Against the Denver Nuggets two days later, the first bucket of the game was a Green three. He hit another one later -- and those were his only field goals of the night.
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With the acquisitions of Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica, the Warriors have added a lot more floor-spacing over the offseason. Those two, along with Steph Curry, Thompson and Jordan Poole, will lead to Green and others being far more open. When he finds himself in those situations, he has to be ready and confident to shoot it.
For the Warriors to contend ...
Green doesn't need to score 15 to 20 points every night. But, if he could get back to the offensive numbers he posted during the 2014-15 season while maintaining his defensive tenacity, there is no telling how much better that would make this team.
Because the Warriors should be getting steady scoring contributions from Porter, Bjelicia, Curry, Poole, Thompson (when he returns) and Andrew Wiggins, Green doesn't need to be someone to hunt his shot down.
But, if he finds himself open -- which he will simply by playing alongside those other players -- he must be willing to shoot the ball. Because the Warriors will be playing more small lineups, Green also has to be willing to battle down low to get buckets at the rim.
Green chipping in about 10 points per game will be even more important in the early months of the season, as Golden State waits for Thompson to return. But even after the sharp-shooter returns, if Green can keep up his scoring contributions into the playoffs, it'll make the Warriors far more lethal.
Though they've only played two preseason games so far, Green seems to be understanding that.