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Best case/worst case: Draymond Green

Perhaps no Warrior is more important this season than Draymond Green.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

With the NBA season starting this week, we’re running through mini previews of the Golden State Warriors’ 16 players, focusing on what their best and worst case scenario is for the upcoming year. Next up is the Warriors emotional leader, Draymond Green. You can check out the other best case/worst case articles below:

Ky Bowman
Alec Burks
Willie Cauley-Stein
Marquese Chriss
Stephen Curry
Jacob Evans III

Preseason stats

4 games, 6.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.8 steals per game

31.8% 2FG, 27.3% 3FG, 57.1% FT, 37.4% true-shooting

2018-19 stats (Warriors)

66 games, 7.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game

54.9% 2FG, 28.5% 3FG, 69.2% FT, 52.6% true-shooting

Role on the 2019-20 Warriors

As he has been in recent years, and will continue to be in future years, Green will be the emotional leader for the Warriors. He’ll be the first one there to get in a youngster’s face and tell them they’ve messed up, but also the first one there to slap hands so hard they turn red when that player makes a smart play. He’ll fire up the team on the court, on the bench, and in the locker room.

And most importantly, he’ll fill some of the holes left behind by the offseason’s upheaval, on both offense and defense.

Best case scenario

Remember when Green and Kevin Durant got into an altercation nearly a year ago, deep in the drama-filled walls of the Staples Center? During that interaction, Green reportedly told his two-time Finals MVP teammate that the Warriors could win without him.

Well, Durant left. And now Green has to try and make good on his word.

But this is the same guy who can rattle off the names of all 34 players drafted ahead of him, without stopping to think. He lives to play with a chip on his shoulder.

Green and Durant are, by all accounts, on very good terms, but that doesn’t mean the three-time All-Star won’t use Durant’s departure as motivation for a strong season.

Green also famously lost 25 pounds in six weeks last season, and from the looks of his preseason physique, he’s kept that weight off. A motivated and slim Green is likely the best defensive player in the league. And the Warriors - who took a step back defensively last year, and then replaced Durant, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala with D’Angelo Russell, Alec Burks, and Glenn Robinson III - will need every bit of Green’s defense if they plan to be serviceable on that end of the court.

So that’s his best case scenario: Motivated, fit, and healthy, he leads the younger players, commands a league-average defense, and continues to serve as the team’s top playmaker, while bumping up his three-point percentage a few ticks.

Worst case scenario

Green is perpetually underrated, but that doesn’t mean he’s consistent. His start to last year was poor. So poor, that both he and Steve Kerr admitted that he wasn’t playing anywhere near an All-Star level. He wasn’t in great shape, didn’t look fully engaged, and ultimately struggled with some injuries.

The Warriors have the odds stacked against them this year, and Green got paid over the offseason. The worst case scenario is that he just doesn’t want it as much as he’s capable of, and that a few nicks and bruises keep him off the court for some extended periods.

It’s also worth noting that not everyone is Durant or Kerr. Not all people can take aggressive leadership style. Green is usually good at tailoring his leadership to the audience, but you never know when that could bend, or even break. What happens if Russell isn’t engaged defensively, and Green starts getting into him about it, only to be met by resistance?

That’s a real worst case scenario, and one that Kerr hopes doesn’t flare up.

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