One of the more unheralded reasons Draymond Green is an irreplaceable defender comes after the opponent’s shot goes up, when he wheels his body in front of whoever’s nearby, dislodges them out of position, and dramatically increases the odds of a Golden State Warrior grabbing the rebound.
Last year he finished fifth with 6.6 defensive box outs per game. Right now, he’s fourth, with 8.0. This is impressive when you compare his role to that of others who box out as frequently as he does. Green is not a traditional drop big who can just spin around and throw his ass into whoever’s nearby. His defensive responsibilities run the gamut. He switches out on the perimeter and perpetually exists as a help-side safety net—flying around, putting out fires that are nowhere near his original assignment. For him to also place near the top of the league in a category like this is sort of amazing, especially when you consider the impact it’s had on Golden State’s defense when he’s at the five.
Not nothing: opponents are grabbing a measly 22 percent of their own missed shots when Green plays center, a truly impressive number that’s far lower than it’s ever been since the Warriors became the Warriors. (When Green played center last year that number was 30.5 percent. The year before that? 31.9 percent.) For all the worry about his disintegrating outside shot (he’ll probably make nine threes in Game 1 of the Finals, and eight of them will be assisted by DeMarcus Cousins), Green’s effort in this area is as commendable as ever.