Warriors' Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala among NBA's top '16-game' players


It takes 16 victories to win the NBA championship. The Warriors are currently stuck at 13.

If they're going to do the improbable -- erase a three-games-to-one NBA Finals deficit -- it will likely have plenty to do with the performance of their "16-game" players.

"There are 82-game players, then there are 16-game players," Warriors director of player personnel Larry Harris quoted Draymond Green as saying following the 2018 NBA Draft.

Green's definition of a 16-game player was one whose level of play ratcheted up once the playoffs began. Given that the Warriors are currently in their fifth consecutive Finals, it's obvious why Green and Golden State would prioritize that quality.

It may come as no surprise, then, that when ESPN's Kevin Pelton calculated who the NBA's best 16-game players are, both Green and Andre Iguodala featured prominently in his results.

In revealing the top 10 16-game players in the league, Pelton's calculations ranked Green second and Iguodala sixth overall, respectively. The Lakers' LeBron James, to no one's surprise, was ranked first.

"Green has beaten expectations in the playoffs every season of his career, which actually predates the Warriors' Finals run," Pelton wrote. "He was valuable off the bench as a rookie when Golden State upset Denver in the opening round and capably started four games in place of Andrew Bogut in the team's 2014 first-round loss to the LA Clippers."

Pelton calculates Green has outperformed his expected wins above replacement player (WARP) projection by a full 7.0 wins over the course of his playoff career.

"While he hasn't been as effective in the 2019 NBA Finals, Green has still overachieved this postseason," Pelton continued. "Not substantially better than replacement level during an uneven regular season, Green had a pair of triple-doubles as the Warriors swept Portland in the Western Conference finals."

While not quite as impressive as Green, Iguodala's plus-2.3 difference between actual and expected WARP over the course of his postseason career speaks to his status as a 16-game player. Of course, he has a Finals MVP to prove it.

"A solid but unspectacular playoff contributor in Philadelphia, Iguodala has been able to save his best effort for the postseason with the deep Warriors," Pelton wrote. "Like Green, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP has also had another overachieving playoff run this year, highlighted by making five 3s as Golden State closed out Houston on the road without Kevin Durant and his clinching triple in Game 2 vs. Toronto."

So, between Green and Iguodala -- not to mention Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and possibly Kevin Durant -- the Warriors have plenty of reason to believe they can go into Toronto and earn win No. 14 on Monday night.

[RELATED: KD officially listed as questionable for Game 5 of Finals]

Of course, the Raptors' Kawhi Leonard -- Pelton's third-ranked 16-game player -- will have something to say about that.

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