Draymond Green is the Warriors' heartbeat and a frontrunner for the 2021-22 Defensive Player of the Year.
But the three-time NBA All-Star rarely garners NBA MVP votes. In fact, only once in his career has Green received any MVP votes (2015-16) despite his immense value to the Warriors.
Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder made a case Saturday to include Green in the conversation for 2021-22 NBA MVP.
When Snyder was asked about what makes Steph Curry and Jazz center Rudy Gobert so important to their respective teams, Snyder shifted the focus to Green.
"I don't think I have to qualify this by saying no disrespect to Steph or Rudy, but Draymond Green is as unique a player and is having as good of a year," Snyder told reporters prior to the game between the Warriors and Jazz on Saturday at Vivant Arena. "If you want to put someone in the MVP conversation, he's someone to me, that's -- maybe the numbers don't look as ... they don't match up to the numbers of some other guys put up, but as far as they way he impacts the game, whether it's his passing, his defense, which, you obviously know how we feel about Rudy's versatility and the things that he does and Draymond is like that. He just does it in his way.
"And then you add the leadership that he shows and the way he communicates, I just think he's an unbelievable player and I think he's showing that this year. He's shown it before, but it stands out so much right now when you watch them play."
As Snyder said, Green's stats don't jump off the page. In 31 games this season, he is averaging 8.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.4 assists. His point and rebound numbers this year are far below his career highs of 14.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in 2015-16.
But it is Green's intangibles that make him so valuable. He is the anchor of the Warriors' defense and quarterback of the offense.
Golden State Warriors
As NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole wrote following the Warriors' loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, Green's value becomes crystal clear when he's not in the lineup.
Green entered the NBA's health and safety protocol on Dec. 26 and was forced to miss the game against the Nuggets at Chase Center. Without him, the Warriors were completely out of sorts in the first half and trailed 60-36 at halftime. Golden State figured some things out during the break and mounted a furious second-half rally before losing 89-86.
“It was a little different look, obviously, with Draymond out,” Curry said after the loss on Tuesday. “We know how much he provides defensively, but offensively he’s amazing playmaker and knows how to be in the right spot and make the right read. It’s the first time without him out there orchestrating a lot of our offense, especially when I’m off the ball.”
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Without Green, the Warriors lacked energy and intensity. They know that while he's out, other players have to provide that. But that's a trait that isn't easily replicated.
While Snyder's words about Green's impact are true, the Warriors' vocal leader likely won't factor into the overall MVP race this season. Curry, Jokic, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo and several others will be the top vote-getters.
But it's a good sign that opposing coaches are taking notice of Green's value and stating it publicly.