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Draymond Green's 2016-17 Defensive Credentials

In an NBA season defined by historic offensive numbers, Draymond Green's defense has continued to stand out.

After finishing second in the voting each of the last two seasons, Draymond Green may have put forth the best defensive season of his career.\
Green leads the league in defensive win shares (4.7), a metric that estimates the number of wins a player contributes to his team through his defensive production.
Despite not having the height advantage of some of his counterparts, Green has been one of the top rim protectors in the NBA, tied for the league-lead in defensive field goal percentage (.439) within five feet of the basket (minimum 400 shots defended), while also leading the NBA in steals per game (2.0) and trailing only John Wall in total deflections (295). That’s an extremely rare skill set, as according to Basketball Reference, Green is on pace to become just the sixth player in NBA history to play at least 20 minutes per game and post block (.033) and steal (.030) rates of three percent or greater within a single season. That means that, on average, approximately 6.3 out of every 100 opponent possessions with Green on the court this season have resulted in a block or steal by him.
The switch-heavy defensive scheme that the Warriors utilize simply would not be possible without Green’s ability to contain centers and guards alike, and that’s exemplified by his defensive rating of 99.3, which leads the league among all qualified players who average at least 20 minutes per game. That means that the Warriors have allowed an average of 99.3 points per 100 possessions with Green on the floor this season, but that mark actually pales in comparison to how stout Green was in Kevin Durant’s absence after the perennial All-Star went down with a knee injury on the last day of February. One would naturally have expected Golden State’s defense to suffer without their leading shot-blocker and defensive rebounder, but the exact opposite proved to be true, thanks in large part to Green’s ramped up play on that end of the floor. In the 19 games Durant missed due to injury, the Warriors posted a defensive rating of 97.0 points per 100 possessions with Green on the court, nearly 10 points fewer than the league average over that span.

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