Draymond Green has never been one to shy away from offering his opinion on basketball topics (or any other topic, really). Late last month, the multi-time All-Star dropped the hammer on the “Last Dance” 1998 Chicago Bulls, tweeting that his 2017 Golden State Warriors would have “beaten these Bulls by a dub.”
Not only that, he did so mere moments after declaring that it was “very dumb” to compare teams from different eras of basketball.
So, when a mailbag segment during his podcast yielded a question on whether Carmelo Anthony or the cornerstone of that 2017 Dubs team — Kevin Durant — was the better scorer, he made no effort to dodge the question. Instead, he thought on it before offering a carefully crafted response.
That response probably wasn’t the one that Dub Nation was expecting to hear, however.
Draymond’s Surprise Pick
To be clear, the question was only about which player was the better scorer — with no regard given to playmaking for others, defensive ability, durability/longevity, etc. — in their prime. So the gap between the two players is significantly smaller than it would be otherwise.
Still, Green’s answer was eye-opening, especially coming from a guy who called KD from a parking lot directly after an NBA Finals loss in hopes of luring him to the Bay Area.
“I’m going to go with Melo,” he declared, before dropping a surprising explanation for his answer.
“The reason I’m going to go with Melo is actually this. We were playing against him at the Garden, it had to be my first or second year in the league. And Melo caught the ball in the post, he faced up on me, put his shoulder to my chest, I may have fouled him a little bit maybe not, and he went through my chest and I got the stop, he missed. I maybe fouled him, maybe not. He turned around to the referee, ‘Call the f****n foul.’ We go back down the court (and) we come back down, he did the exact same move the next play and made the referee call the foul.”
The latest Golden State Warriors news straight to your inbox! Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!
The Free Throw Factor
Green wasn’t saying that Anthony complained his way into extra points as much as he was praising the baller for being able to get to the line, a hallmark of any elite-level scorer. Sure, it’s called the charity stripe for a reason, but getting there has an impact that goes well beyond notching single points on the scoreboard.
And Green understands that better than most.
“The reason why that is such a big deal to me is because, as a scorer, you go into slumps, you have bad shooting nights and the one thing that breaks scorer’s slumps can be a free throw,” Green said. “Just knowing that Melo can get to the free throw line like that, that’s why I am gonna pick Melo. But man that’s a pick ’em for real. Can you go wrong with either one? I don’t think so.”
For the record, Durant has actually posted a higher free throw rate (40.7) and attempted more foul shots per 36 minutes (7.5) than Anthony (34.3 and 6.4, respectively) over the course of both players’ careers. And there’s a similar gap when comparing their best seasons.