A lot has gone wrong for the Golden State Warriors this year. Despite winning an NBA championship just a few short months ago (their fourth in the past eight years), they currently sit outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference nearly a quarter of the way through the season.
In turn, they have been forced to experiment within the team in an attempt to find answers. As reported on by Anthony Slater of The Athletic, one of the changes they are making is having Draymond Green lead the bench unit late in games.
“That reality has sent coach Steve Kerr searching for the past month, rearranging second-unit combinations on a regular basis,” Slater wrote. “This past week — culminating in the 124-107 blowout of the Clippers on Wednesday night — it seems Kerr has finally landed on a strategy with lasting potential. Draymond Green is now the conductor of a second unit that also includes the scorching Andrew Wiggins, shooting a career high from the field (50.6 percent) and from 3 (43.4 percent).”
Golden State’s bench has been absolutely terrible so far this year. Their bench ranks 24th in the NBA in field goal percentage (43.3%), 29th in three-point percentage (30.8%), first in turnovers (7.4), 21st in offensive rating (52.3), 26th in defensive rating (59.8), and 30th in plus/minus (-5.3).
“It looks good,” Kerr said of the bench lineup with Green and Wiggins. “We’ll continue to do it.”
Green Sounds Off on New Responsibility
This is a big-time change for a Warriors team that has employed Green, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson in the starting lineup for years. Obviously, Green will still be a part of that first unit, but he’ll now get a chance to have a whole new impact on the game.
He said that his goal will simply be to maintain the lead the starters grew.
“As a second unit, your job isn’t to go out there and build a lead,” Green said. “Your job is to maintain the lead. If the first unit fails to build a lead, then your job is to slow down and settle the game. That’s just kind of been my focus. Just trying to help that unit play as much mistake-free basketball as we possibly can.”
Green has had a solid season thus far for Golden State. The veteran has appeared in 17 of the Warriors’ 19 games so far this season and is playing 30.4 minutes per game. He’s averaging 7.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists on 57.7% shooting from the field and 33.3% shooting from behind the three-point line.
As for Wiggins, who is also a part of the bench group with Green, has also played well this year. He has also appeared in 17 of Golden State’s 19 games. The Canadian star is averaging 19.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists on 50.6% shooting from the field and 43.5% shooting from distance.
Green Explains Second Unit Goals
Throughout his career, Green has been known for his leadership, and he plans on utilizing that skill in his new role.
“What am I doing?” Green said. “Number one, just trying to slow the unit down. That unit should not play as fast as the first unit. It should be more methodical. It should be more sets. It should be more patterned movements as opposed to random movements and random offense. I think, for me, it’s just trying to slow that unit down and then, number two, most importantly, make sure that unit is defending.”
If Green can thrive in his new position, it would surely give the Warriors a massive boost.