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Jazz coach Quin Snyder: Draymond Green belongs in MVP race

Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 25: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball during the first half of NBA game at Footprint Center on December 25, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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The Warriors have a serious — maybe front-running — MVP candidate in Stephen Curry.

Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder thinks Golden State should have two candidates in that discussion, with Draymond Green being the other. Snyder, who often promotes three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert as someone who should be in the MVP race, said Green deserved consideration, speaking before his Jazz faced the Warriors (without Green, who was in health and safety protocols).

“I don’t think I have to qualify this by saying no disrespect to Steph or Rudy, but Draymond Green is as unique a player and is having as good of a year. If you want to put someone in the MVP conversation, he’s someone to me, that’s -- maybe the numbers don’t look as ... they don’t match up to 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 is right, Green is a unique player and his offensive impact as a secondary distributor can get overlooked. However, Green does not have MVP-level offensive numbers: 8.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

Green may be the early frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year (with other former winners Gobert and Giannis Antetokounmpo also in the conversation). Golden State has the best defense in the NBA this season (the Jazz are fifth).

Even without Draymond, the Warriors beat the Jazz on Saturday night, tearing apart the Jazz defense in the halfcourt. With switches and the gravity of Curry pulling Gobert out higher, Utah’s backside rotations got exposed. It’s something they need to work on before the playoffs start and other teams try to follow that blueprint.