Draymond Green was the defensive anchor for the Warriors this season. He has been his entire tenure in Golden State, but it was even more evident this year.
Without him, there was a gaping hole in Golden State's defensive efforts. His younger teammates looked lost, and there was an overall lack of aggression.
The Warriors were better when he played good defense. And nearly as much, they were a better team when he was a threat on offense as well.
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Next season, they will need to see more of Green's scoring, and if they get it, it'll give take them a step forward in their development as a team.
This is no secret within the Warriors organization. Shortly after their second play-in loss to the Grizzlies, Green, coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers had a 900-minutes conversation about Green's offseason goals. One of them was to improve Green's 3-point shooting.
They all agreed.
"We need it," Myers said. "He wants it. He's not going to shy away from that. I think he wants to feel confident in that regard.
Golden State Warriors
"And so, yes, that ability to be a threat out there is important to us, and we're focused on it and so is he, and we think we can improve in that area.”
Green became the first player in NBA history to average more rebounds (7.1) and assists (8.9) than points (7.0) in a single season. That's both impressive and a problem area, at the same time.
The Warriors don't want to take away any of the playmaking Green does for them. It's a reason why their offense clicks. But, in those occasions where he finds himself in prime position for a shot, he doesn't take it. That needs to change.
The way defenders were guarding the Warriors -- throwing all of the attention at Steph Curry -- often left players such as Green wide open. He already had ample opportunity to make himself a scoring threat. Now, add Klay Thompson back into the mix and Green should find himself alone a good amount.
If he can knock down those open 3-point shots, while also maintaining his ability to attack the rim, the Warriors' offense will already be better.
To be fair, the Warriors haven't asked Green to take on a scoring role in the past, and they've been successful with that. They did the same with Andrew Bogut.
But, they didn't need them to be then.
This season highlighted that while the Warriors go through their mini-rebuild, and try to find their identity again after losing Thompson to injury and Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets, they might need Green to take on more scoring responsibilities.
In the past, Green has excelled as a fourth scorer, averaging 11.7 points per game, shooting 44.7 percent overall and 33.7 from distance during the 2014-15 season.
We saw glimpses of that version of Green late in games at the end of the season. But, if that started earlier, the outcomes of those games might have been different.
Green is one of the most impactful players on the Warriors' roster. He's the most vocal leader of the group. He changes their defense with a flip of a switch. Now, they need him to do one more thing.
Green has the chops to be a two-way player, and as the Warriors work to get back up in the NBA ranks, they'll need him to be that.