Warriors Need ‘One of One’ Player to Be in ‘Championship Conversation’

Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Gary Payton II of the Golden State Warriors.

Getty Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Gary Payton II of the Golden State Warriors.

What was a rollercoaster of a season for the Golden State Warriors came to an abrupt halt in the second-round of the playoffs. Golden State fell to the Los Angeles Lakers, sending them into what could be a crossroads for the franchise.

Among other things, star forward Draymond Green‘s contract includes a player option for this summer, meaning he can decide to test free agency if he pleases.

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley explained Green’s importance to the Dubs as part of a recent article about the team’s top needs this offseason. He called Golden State’s No. 23 a “one of one” player and pointed out his importance to the Warriors’ success.

“Talent-wise, he’s one of one,” Buckley wrote. “Has his impact been magnified by sharing the floor with historically elite shooters in [Stephen] Curry and [Klay] Thompson? No doubt. But this partnership is absolutely mutually beneficial. They’ve feasted on a ton of great looks created by Green’s passing, screening and high-level processing.”

Green’s played his entire 11-year-career for the Warriors, winning four NBA Championships along the way. He’s averaged 8.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.8 assists, during his 758 games for the Dubs. On top of his importance within the team’s offense, Green shines brightest on the defensive end. He took home the league’s Defensive Player of the Year honors in the 2016-17 season.

He’s become, what many believe to be, irreplaceable for the Warriors.

“For all the talk over the years about whether Green could be the same player outside this system, there are just as many questions about whether this system could operate without him. Forget the financial challenges of trying to find his replacement, where do you even find another 6’6″, 230-pounder who can quarterback an offense and anchor a defense as both a paint protector and a perimeter-switcher?”

Steve Kerr Says Warriors Aren’t Contenders Without Draymond Green

Following Golden State’s playoff elimination, head coach Steve Kerr fielded questions from reporters one final time.

He was questioned of Green’s future with the franchise, to which he replied with a strong statement of the 33-year-old’s importance.

“Look, if Draymond is not back, we’re not a championship contender,” Kerr said. “We know that. He’s that important to winning and to who we are. I absolutely want him back. He’s a competitor. He’s an incredible defensive player.”

Steve Kerr Says Draymond Green’s Dust Up with Jordan Poole Compromised Warriors’ Season

Kerr also discussed Green’s preseason incident with Warriors guard Jordan Poole. Video leaked of the veteran connecting on a punch straight to Poole’s face.

“[Green] knows that he had a great season this year from a basketball perspective, but he knows that he also compromised things by what happened back in October. So part of him coming back next year has to be about rebuilding some of that trust and respect that he’s earned here for a long period of time,” Kerr said. “One thing I love about Draymond is he’s always brutally honest, and he can take that sort of critique because he knows it’s the truth.”

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