A few days back, the Twitter account for the NBA analytics blog Statcenter tweeted a hypothetical that nearly launched a Golden State of Mind civil war (for like fifth time): if you could clone one of the Golden State Warriors’ Big Four — Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, or Klay Thompson — which would you choose?
At some point in the conversation that lasted for about an hour, someone wisely asked, “Hold up here, are we really deep enough into the offseason that KD has been completely reduced to an ISO ball hog?”
I mean...yes. Yes we are, apparently.
Yet it was also a sort of fun conversation in the dead of the offseason in that I’d argue that it ended up becoming something of a Warriors fandom Rorschach Test: how you respond almost says more about what you value as a Warriors fan and what your biases are than anything else.
So I made the executive decision to continue the discussion by asking our four new writers the same question and using that to introduce them to our community.
Without further ado, their responses are below. Feel free to share your own in the comments below.
POLL: Let's make the Warriors even better. If GS could magically clone one of their Big Four (Steph, KD, Klay, Draymond) to become their fifth starter, who should they choose?— statcenter (@statcenter) August 30, 2018
I would probably have to say I’d clone Draymond. The Big Four all pretty much have high basketball IQs, but I think Draymond has the highest out of all of them. Imagine having a second elite, all-time great defender on the floor who can virtually defend all positions and switch seamlessly from one defensive assignment to another; opposing teams may not even score against us anymore! Additionally, having another elite playmaker on the floor would take the Dubs’ out-of-this-world offense into even more unreachable heights. Of course, this is all not taking into account the fact that having another Draymond on the floor would probably skyrocket the technical foul count, but hey — the pros of having another Draymond on the floor outweigh the cons, in my opinion.
The ultimate objective in the NBA is to win a championship. And if defense wins championships, the Warriors should clone Draymond Green if any of their big four to become their fifth starter.
Last regular season, the four-time All-Defensive Team member and 2017 Defensive Player of the Year led the team in defensive win shares, was second in defensive box plus minus and third in value over replacement. But the playoffs are where Draymond shows his value as the most critical player in the games that matter most, and his absence from the 2016 playoffs was a painful reminder of this.
During the 2018 NBA playoffs, Draymond ranked first on the team in defensive win shares, first in defensive box plus minus, first in box plus minus and first in value over replacement. Green led all players from all teams in the 2018 playoffs in defensive rebounds, total rebounds, steals, personal fouls, defensive win shares and defensive box plus/minus.
While some might argue that having the most personal fouls is nothing to be proud of, Green’s fouls represent an intangible aspect of his game that further substantiates his importance to the team; a willingness to act as an enforcer, mix it up with any opposing player and set the tone in crucial games in a manner that no one else is willing.
At age 28, Draymond is coming into the prime of his career. Dennis Rodman won his DPOY awards at age 28 and 29 and began dominating the league in rebounds after age 30. If Draymond’s career arc is comparable to Rodman’s at 28 in a defensive capacity, the Dubs have many years left with an enforcer who can win games, drop dimes, grab boards and play lock down defense at an elite level when the stakes are the highest.
Two copies of him would make the Warriors unstoppable, baby.
If I had to choose one of the Big Four to clone and become their fifth starter, it would be Kevin Durant. He, in my honest opinion, is the best player on Golden State right now. It would be the sweetest of desserts to watch Stephen Curry crossing over CP3 and dishing it out to his clone to knock down a jumper, and it would be the most edge on your seat kind of season if we had two Draymonds (which, we currently stand pretty close), but Kevin Durant adds an element to this team that elevates this team to where they are today. He can do it all, and he does it so effortlessly. Scoring, defense - both on ball and paint protection, handles, off-ball work, and one of the most intelligent players in the game. How could you stop that? Especially if there were two of him? I don’t know if there is an answer.
I think I’d go with Klay because he’s 1) the best ‘3-and-D’ player in the league, in my opinion, 2) can move well off-ball and generally be really effective without the ball and 3) probably the most low maintenance of all our stars personality-wise (could you imagine the kind of fights two Draymonds would get into? Would pay good money to see those.) But a close second would be another Kevin Durant.
I give Durant a close second because he provides gravity and is also a solid defender (debatable who is a better defender between the two — you could make the case that KD is better for size and rim protection, but I think generally we ask more on the defensive end from Klay). I give Klay the slight edge because he has proven more effective off the ball. While KD is far more effective than Klay in an ISO setting, I’m not sure we need another player with that skillset given there’s only one ball
As much as I love Steph, I think two Stephs would hurt our defense too much, and two Draymonds would hurt our shooting too much. Team defenses would let both Draymonds take open threes and direct their attention toward our other shooters (especially Steph).
Who would you choose? Let us know in the comments ... or just welcome our new writers into the fold and continue pining for the regular season to arrive.
Which of the Big Four would you clone as a fifth starter?
This poll is closed
"Hold up here — are we really that deep into the offseason?"