For the fourth time in his career, the Golden State Warriors‘ Draymond Green has been named to the NBA’s top defensive squad.
The league announced its 2020-21 first and second NBA All-Defensive teams on Monday, June 14. The results were first reported on Twitter by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Green joined Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks) on the first team.
Los Angeles Clipper Kawhi Leonard was named to the second team, as were Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, both of the Miami Heat, along with Joel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle, both of the 76ers.
Green received 80 first-team votes and 16 second-team votes. He was not included on four ballots.
Green Continues Building Resumé as Top Defender in NBA History
Not only has Green earned All-Defensive honors four times (2015-17 and 2021) throughout his career, he has also been named to the second team on two occasions (2018 and 2019).
In fact, since the Warriors began their run of five straight NBA Finals appearances in 2015-16, Green has been named as one of the league’s 10 best defensive players every season except one. That was the 2020 campaign, during which Golden State finished with the worst record in the league following season-ending injuries to guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Green was also named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) in 2017, coming in third this season behind Gobert. While players like Gobert, Leonard, Antetokounmpo and others have multiple DPOY awards in their trophy cases to just one for Green, the Warriors’ forward has a few things many of them don’t — namely three NBA Championship rings. Leonard has two, while the others listed above have none.
Beyond titles, which are by definition team accomplishments, Green has a defensive versatility difficult to match for big men like Gobert, Dwight Howard (three-time DPOY winner) and former Detroit Piston Ben Wallace, who also won DPOY honors twice and has a title to his name.
Green is lauded as perhaps the smartest, most-forward thinking defender in league history, which sets his skills apart.
Green Already Believes He’s Best Defender to Ever Play in NBA
The Warriors’ forward spoke to that element of his game in May while appearing on the Dubs Talk podcast.
“I think I’m the best defender to ever play this game,” Green said. “100%, that’s my opinion. But I also think I view the game a lot differently than most people view the game. I think I just see it from a different perspective.”
“I think when you look at the things that make a great defender: reaction time, toughness, being able to see the picture long before it develops, and most importantly, in order to finish a defensive possession, you’ve got to rebound. And I think I rebound well,” Green continued. “And so when I look at all the facets that make up the defensive side of the ball, I’m think I’m great in every facet. So (I) think I’m the best defender to ever play in the NBA. I’ll stand by that. I’ll put myself up against anyone.”
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr also put Green at the top of the all-time list of defenders in the NBA, adding that he is the best the league currently has to offer on that side of the ball.
“Draymond, to me, is the best defender in the league,” Kerr told reporters in May. “I know Simmons and Gobert are excellent. I just think what Draymond does across the board, from guarding point guards to guarding centers, the other guys don’t do that. They’re much more specialized in their roles defensively.”