At the upcoming All-Star Game, either Team LeBron or Team Durant will have to figure out the Golden State Warriors have been working on for a month: How to play without Draymond Green. Green was selected as a Western Conference All-Star reserve today, but announced that he won’t play in the game in order to continue rehabilitating his back issue.
Warriors' Draymond Green announces he will not play in the All-Star Game. NBA commissioner Adam Silver will choose replacement.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 4, 2022
It’s the fourth career selection for Draymond, who made the team in the 2016-18 seasons. He joins starters Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins on the squad, the first time the Warriors have had multiple All-Stars since the 2019 game, when Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson joined Curry on the West team. The Warriors had four All-Stars in 2017 and 2018, and three in 2016, the only time Golden State has had more than two All-Stars since their third season in California, back in 1967-68.
Green is averaging 7.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.4 assists this season, and he’s shooting a career-high 53.7% from the field. He’d be 11th in the NBA in assists if he had played enough games to qualify, the best passing numbers for any big man not named Nikola Jokic in the NBA. But the box score statistics don’t tell the whole story of Draymond’s impact, even when you consider his 1.7 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. It’s that he’s the most important part of a defense that’s best in the league in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions), despite having no one taller than 6’10”, and only two players above 6’8”.
Thanks to his new deal with TNT, Green should have broadcasting opportunities in between his rehab sessions. However, the outlook for Green’s ailing back wasn’t all that negative today. The team and trainer Rick Celebrini don’t think the issue will require surgery, Green remains pain-free, and he suggested that he could return by March.
Draymond Green said he’s hopeful he can return in the next “3-4 weeks” but cautions that is no guarantee and, if he isn’t back yet, don’t sound the alarm bell— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 4, 2022
Full detailed soundbite pic.twitter.com/Is0FiHEyUB
Fans will of course continue to sound the alarm bell, a bell that James Wiseman and his ailing knees have slept through all season. But the team has righted the ship in the past two weeks, and still remain comfortably ahead of Memphis for second place in the West, and just three games behind the first-place Phoenix Suns, despite their annoying tendency towards epic win streaks - they’re currently at 11 wins in a row. It makes all the sense in the world to be conservative with Green and his complicated injury - his injured back doesn’t hurt but it’s making his calf muscle tight - especially when they have Jonathan Kuminga to go supernova once a week in the fourth quarter.
As for the rest of the West All-Stars:
2022 NBA West All-Star reserves: Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, Rudy Gobert, Draymond Green, Donovan Mitchell, Chris Paul, Karl-Anthony Towns.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 4, 2022
The Suns got two All-Star reserves, including the Warriors’ old friend Chris Paul. The Jazz also got two, ensuring that Rudy Gobert’s mom will not be sobbing in France tonight, while Luka Doncic and Karl-Anthony Towns rounded out the reserves. Judging by how those players have killed the Warriors so far this year, it’s an excellent selection of players. Adam Silver will choose Green’s replacement, though as much as he always kills the Warriors, it’s highly unlikely to be the Nuggets’ Will Barton. If he doesn’t throw the choice out to the K-Pop community that made Wiggins an All-Star starter, maybe they’ll add a second Memphis Grizzly in Jaren Jackson, Jr.?