Oct 30, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Draymond Green (23) drives in against Los Angeles Lakers small forward Elias Harris (2) during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 125-94. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green Making Strides

Draymond Green has been making big strides during the 2013-14 season. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Draymond Green will never be mentioned in the same breath as any star in the NBA. It is unlikely that he will ever average 20 points per game or be expected to carry a team deep into the playoffs. Regardless, Green does have the potential to be a solid role player, both on the offensive and defensive sides of the floor.

Green was not a threat offensively during the 2012-13 NBA season, his rookie year.  He only averaged 2.9 points per game on 32.7 percent shooting from the field and he shot a mediocre 20.9 percent from long distance. However, where Green was able to contribute on a nightly basis was on defense. His upper body strength and solid footwork, combined with a strong work ethic, tremendous energy and awareness on the court, helped him earn a spot in the Warriors rotation. He appeared in 79 games and averaged a serviceable 13 minutes per game off the bench.

This season, Green has made steady improvements to his offensive game as well. Through 18 games, he has played in nearly 19 minutes per game off the bench. He has averaged 5.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game, decent numbers for a reserve. What is most surprising, however, is that Green has shot a much-improved 46.5 percent from the field, along with an impressive 38.9 percent from long distance.

Golden State currently leads the league in 3-point shooting, as they have shot 43.9 percent from behind the arc. Coach Mark Jackson has gained a lot of trust in Green this season, after his struggles on offense really negated his impact defensively last year.

Draymond Green’s shot chart during the 2012-13 season:

Draymond Green shot chart 2012-13

 

Draymond Green’s shot chart thus far during the 2013-14 season:

Draymond Green shot chart 2013-14

Having an abundance of offensive weapons around him, from Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the currently injured Andre Iguodala, has done wonders for Green’s offensive game. The Warriors ability to space the floor has enabled Green to spot up for open jumpers and he has been confidently knocking down shots when given the opportunity.

As you can see, he has stepped his game up from most areas on the floor. On above the break 3s, he is shooting 42.9 percent, up from an abysmal 16.3 percent last year. On mid-range shots, he is currently shooting an impressive 50 percent, after going a disappointing 27.9 percent during the 2012-13 season. He has also improved his game in the paint, where he is shooting a solid 56 percent, up from 43 percent during his rookie campaign.

One area where he needs to improve offensively is at the line. He is only shooting 54.2 percent on free throws, which is inexplicable for someone who has been shooting as well as he has from long distance.

Green’s defensive game has continued to be his strong point this season. His quick hands and ability to cut off passing lanes have enabled him to average over a steal per game in less than 20 minutes a night.  He also averages 0.8 blocks per game, which is good for third-best on the Warriors. He never hesitates to match up with any player in the league and his confidence is evident every time he steps on the floor.

He may not be an imposing presence on either end of the court, but Green is a key component for a Warriors team that will look to make some noise in the Western Conference this season.

Statistics used in this post provided by NBA.com/Stats

Tags: Draymond Green Golden State Warriors

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