The Warriors got smashed well and good by the Lakers last night, earning their 12th loss of what has so far been an uninspiring (by their standards) season. The Warriors have never had more than seven losses by Christmas during the Steve Kerr era, and it was genuinely strange to see them, at full strength, get pushed around by Rajon Rondo and the LeBron-less Lakers in the second half. If you’re feeling uncharitable and are looking for one Warrior to blame for all of this, Draymond Green is your man.
Green’s never been a guy whose numbers tell the full story of his impact on the game, but even by those standards he’s been awful this year. He’s scoring seven points per game to go along with eight rebounds and six assists, and he’s sporting the worst shooting numbers of his career. His ability to reliably hit threes is what once made the Warriors’ offense the most terrifying weapon in the history of basketball, but this season he’s hitting just 22 percent of his shots from outside and is shooting 40 percent from the field overall. He’s reached that dreaded territory that all non-shooters fear, where defenses allow them all the space they need to humiliate themselves:
Green scored four points and shot 2-of-7 from the field before fouling out of last night’s game, and afterwards he lamented his inability to deal with what he called the Lakers’ “gimmicky” defense.
Refusing to take the bait and finding more creative ways to attack all that space defenses are leaving him would seem like a good course of action for Green going forward, but for the fact that it’s not just his shooting that has dulled this season. Green used to be the guy who kept the Warriors’ death machine running smoothly, but this season all he’s offered is belching and sputtering. His turnover rate is a grody 29.1 percent, a career-high by a long shot, and he’s got the worst turnover ratio in the entire NBA among players averaging at least 20 minutes per game.
The Warriors will be fine thanks to the fact that there aren’t any great teams in the West, and it’s more likely than not that they will win yet another championship this season. But for Green personally, this season could not be going any worse or have come at a more inopportune time. He’s playing terribly, he had an embarrassing public spat with Kevin Durant, and he’s two summers away from asking for a max contract. Getting one felt like a possibility when he was one of the most unique and skilled players in the league, but right now he just looks like an undersized 28-year-old forward who doesn’t quite know what to do with the ball.