The Golden State Warriors have looked pretty unstoppable (baby) so far this season. But up till now, it was mostly on the offensive end - that clutch tip-in from Jonas Jerebko, the 4th quarter explosion in New York from Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry doing what they do on offense.
Last night against the New Orleans Pelicans was the first time this year we really got a good look at the grinding defense of Draymond Green, and how detrimental he can be to an opponent’s offense.
Draymond Green, Defensive Player of the Year candidate?
Maybe some of this has been overlooked, but Green has gotten off to a phenomenal start on the season. After battling through some knee issues - which are likely to linger if his mother’s twitter proclamations are to be believed - Green has managed to control the game in the one blind spot not covered by Curry and Durant: dominant defense.
Not to say that either of those guys are bad defenders per se, but Green is just on another level.
Currently, Green leads the team in steals, rebounds, and assists; he’s also fourth in points per game, and third in blocks. That is to say, this isn’t a gaudy scoring performance, but his show this year is just as dominant as those put on by our stars on the offensive end.
Also, we’ll get to Curry in a moment, but I want to point out something about Green’s comments last night about not being able to blow on people this year without getting a foul call. The NBA is getting real eager with their whistles this season - the fact that Green can play through this new officiating regime and still dominate under these circumstance is almost unreal. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
Curry already redefined the game, but what he’s doing within that new definition is continually amazing
We ran out of new things to say about the damage Curry does back in the 2015 season, I think. But just note that he turned in yet another tremendous showing last night. 37 points in 37 minutes, on just 20 shots would be a fantastic game on it’s own. Taken in context with his other performances this summer? This looks like yet another strong MVP campaign, even we’ve hardly covered one-tenth of the season so far. Gaudy scoring numbers aside, just take a look at what he punished defenses for. Here’s a pretty basic play, the defender shows early to prevent Curry’s long ball, but they make a minuscule mistake in coverage that would normally go unpunished. With Curry though?
We talked about the impact of the new rule changes above as they related to Green, but Ethan Strauss made an interesting analogy in his morning column for The Athletic:
It’s easy to forget that these sports are defined by their rules, easy to buy into this platonic ideal of a sport absent enforcement. That’s why we argue “greatest of all time,” as though the sport is timeless. It isn’t, though. The rules dictate what kinds of players succeed as much as the Galapagos molded Darwin’s finches.
One of the most common misunderstandings of Darwin’s theory is that “survival of the fittest” doesn’t mean “the strongest thrive” - it means that those who are best adapted to excel within their environment will thrive. For the Warriors and Steph Curry, these new rule changes are combining somehow with their rediscovered weaponized joy [patent pending] and giving birth to the scariest Warriors team the league has seen yet. Look how far above everyone else the team’s offense is so far this season:
The Warrior Wonder Buddy
Well, we started this because the Warrior Wonder award was just going to Curry or Durant every time. But in an interesting twist, we have probably a tougher decision with the main award than the supporting one.
After making many of us question the wisdom of the signing in preseason, Jonas Jerebko has looked great since the game-winning tip against the Utah Jazz in the second game of the season.
Last night, as per Anthony Slater:
In nine first-half minutes, Jonas Jerebko fired up five 3s. He made two of them. That, in nine games, gave Jerebko 11 made 3s on 23 attempts, which is already more takes and makes than Omri Casspi (10 of 22 total) had as a Warrior in 52 games last season.
Who was your Warrior Wonder against the Pelicans?
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other (answer in comments)
And who was your supporting Wonder?
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