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Draymond Green leads in ‘lag time’ ... but with good reason

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According to FiveThirtyEight.com, Draymond Green tops the list of NBA players who are “too busy complaining [to the officials] to get back on D.” Meanwhile, he remains the top candidate for Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors - Game One
Draymond Green hustles back on D and blocks a shot. Like, duh.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Well, somebody has to.

Complain to the officials, that is.

Draymond Green can do it all on the court, and he likes to do it with bravado and bombast. If a hoarse-throated holler is what gets the guy going, then so be it. But with all that fire comes technical fouls, for daring to express a human emotion to no one at all, for jawing with other players, or for not backing down from arguments with the refs over bad calls.

Any viewer can see the unequal treatment Green experiences on the court. If he so much as sighs, it is perceived as an exaggerated reaction, while other players do much more and there is no issue whatsoever. A player can swing from the rim like an acrobat and not get called, while Green can stay on the rim a fraction of a second — to ensure a safe return to Earth — and get T-ed up.

Although his arguments with the refs can cause problems for the team when he doesn’t get back on D, these occurrences are rare, and it needs to be stated that NBA officials seem to have it out for the guy. In the face of such uneven, imbalanced and unfair foul calling, it’s easy to understand his frustration and tendency to sometimes lag behind to plead his case. The league office clearly has no problem with the blatant unequal treatment of the officials, so Green is fighting the battle himself.

With that said, Green is the Defensive Player of the Year — hands down, no matter what the voting happens to be. And FiveThirtyEight.com’s Chris Herring tauted Green’s deservedness of the honor in his article, stating:

“No one can dispute Green’s value, given his superb passing ability and his immense defensive skill, which makes him a deserving candidate for defensive player of the year.”

And this is why the article’s misleading photo, caption and title are so disappointing:

FiveThirtyEight.com

The title, photo and caption unfairly cast Green in a bad light, which seems to be the sports world’s newest sport.

Green may lag in getting across half court sometimes, but he doesn’t come close to being the biggest complainer in the league. This image-title-caption combination is problematic because people do not read. They look at a title and photo and retweet with a reply, or they might skim and do the same. For a person on the periphery of basketball, to see that headline would give an inaccurate impression of Green’s game (actually characterized by otherworldly defensive prowess) and his character (well, he’s the heart of the team).

Per usual, Golden State of Mind’s illustrious leader, Nate P., took a more diplomatic, pragmatic and balanced view, stating:

“Well ... to be fair, he did use the tracking data. However, 1) he concedes Dray doesn’t actually hurt his own team, and 2) the data undermines his caption that Dray is a player who “most lags.”

Dray actually lags behind the ball less than anyone on that list of 10 players and didn’t lag for 30+ secs more than LeBron, Harden or Westbrook. Ultimately, he seemed to take aim at Harden despite Dray leading the photo, and since I love taking aim at Harden, I’m content. (smiling imp emoji)

So, I think refuting Dray’s inclusion on the list isn’t all that difficult ... but I do think he used Dray as the cover photo because Dray landed at the top of the list for the stat he invented, and he didn’t really go after him anyway.

Meanwhile, Golden State of Mind’s from-across-the-pond contributor, Mike Brady, took issue with how the lag stat was derived, stating:

“As soon as he said he was omitting power forwards and centers because they’re busy crashing boards, and then INCLUDED Draymond ... I’m out.

Just because he locks down your favorite wing doesn’t make him a wing player. When are people going to accept him as a 4/5?

Height doesn’t dictate position.”

And, there you have it.

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