Sports Illustrated has a panel posted where their five basketball experts take their pick of which of the Golden State Warriors should be tasked with guarding LeBron James in the 2015 NBA Finals. Three of them chose Draymond Green as the answer for King James:
The Warriors are reasonably well positioned to defend LeBron James, if that's possible. Draymond Green was probably the best defensive player in the NBA this season because he has the strength to bang with 4s down low and the foot speed to track 3s on the perimeter. I assume he'll spend most of the time on James, though Golden State may need him boxing out Tristan Thompson also. In those stretches, the Warriors can always turn to Andre Iguodala, who was one of the most effective defenders against James when he was in Philadelphia. Iguodala may have lost a step since then, but he will be valuable in this series as a reinforcement for Green.
Golden State used Green, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson against LeBron James during his one appearance against the Warriors this season, a 110-99 Cavaliers victory back in February. How did that pack of defenders do? Well, James got loose for a season-high 42 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, finding success anywhere and everywhere. (Seriously, his shot chart from the game was entirely green, with 5/6 shooting in the basket area, 3/4 shooting in the paint, 3/6 shooting from midrange and 4/9 shooting from deep.) The Warriors' coaching staff won't exactly be thrilled with their defensive work in that game, but this was mostly a case of James having one of those Hall of Fame nights. In particular, he was in a deep rhythm with his outside shot, a rhythm that he hasn't come close to recreating during the playoffs. During the postseason, James is shooting just 32.9% on long twos and 17.6% on three-pointers in the postseason. That's a lot of iron.
He has the strength and intelligence to at least give himself a fighting chance when James posts up, and if that forces James to play a bit more on the perimeter, that's good for Golden State. But what I really love about Golden State in this series is that the Warriors have so many good options. Green can start on James. Andre Iguodala can handle him for stretches. So can Klay Thompson. Golden State should be able to put an excellent defender on James for every minute of the series—and none of them can stop LeBron, but maybe they can keep him from dominating.
What do you all think? Is Draymond the best matchup for LeBron? The two other experts picked Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes.