The Draymond Green Do-It-All NBA All-Stars: They love defense, put the team first and play to win
These players are in the mold of the Warriors' versatile star, who you may love to hate but secretly want on your team
Unless you're a fan of the Golden State Warriors, you probably despise Draymond Green. It makes sense. The first thing you think of with Green is the kung fu kicks to the groin. You note that if there is one stat where Green is truly elite, it's technical fouls, where he has ranked in the top three in the NBA each of the past three seasons. You buy into the way he embraces being one of the biggest heels in NBA history. You don't think it is some act, though. This is truly him.
So you despise Draymond Green.
But let's be honest: You're actually jealous.
You want a guy like that on your team.
Take away all the noise around Green -- the trash talk, the villain persona, the self-righteousness, the goofy 3-point-shooting form that somehow goes in -- and what you have is, quite simply, the best team player in the NBA. Draymond Green is a coach's dream.
What follows is an entire NBA roster made in Draymond Green's image. Call them the Draymond Green Do-It-All All-Stars. And no, these players aren't selected for their technical-fouling prowess. They're defense-first, team-first players, try-hard guys whose defining characteristic isn't a massive vertical or a gorgeous shot but instead an innate intelligence to play winning basketball.
Look at Green's numbers last season: In 70 regular-season games, he averaged only 11.0 points -- the lowest scoring average for anyone named to the 2018 All-Star Game. (One defining characteristic of a Draymond Green Do-It-All All-Star: You may not average more than 20 points per game. That's why you won't see some excellent defenders like Paul George or Donovan Mitchell on this list.) But the rest of Draymond's stat line is the most stat-stuffing in the NBA: 7.3 assists, 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks. He shot 30.1 percent from 3-point range, which is another characteristic of a Draymond Green Do-It-All All-Star: He isn't necessarily an elite 3-point shooter but he can bang home a few 3-pointers when needed. Green also ranked 10th in the NBA in deflections per game; a Draymond Green Do-It-All All-Star always hustles.
And a Draymond Green Do-It-All All-Star is never the focal point of a team's offense. That's what accounts for the exclusion of Kyle Lowry, Victor Oladipo and Jimmy Butler. They all do Draymond-y things -- Lowry led the NBA in charges drawn last season, Oladipo ranked third in deflections, Butler ranked fifth in deflections -- but these guys are score-first players.
The simple definition of a Draymond Green Do-It-All All-Star is this: He's a versatile, super-switchy guy who makes everyone else on his team better.
Draymond Green Do-It-All All-Stars
The starting five
Holiday might be the only player here who breaks a cardinal rule of a Draymond Green Do-It-All All-Star: He's kind of a traditional star. He averaged close to 20 points last season. But whatever: This team needs at least one guy who is an offensive force, and in picking Holiday, we're picking a guy who is the clear second option to Anthony Davis on his team. Holiday proved in the first round of the 2018 playoffs against Portland that he's one of the best two-way players in the league. Holiday had more deflections than all but seven players in the league, which was a big reason why he finished seventh in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season. He also dashes after loose balls like a madman, finishing ninth in the NBA in loose balls recovered.
Is there a tougher NBA player than Smart? He's the guard version of Green. I can't name many dudes who are able to contribute as many intangibles to a team as Smart is to Boston. What he brings to the Celtics' defense and attitude is irreplaceable. He's one of the best in the NBA at drawing charges.
Covington, who finished eighth in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season, was tied for the NBA lead in deflections per game. While Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are the unquestioned stars of the 76ers, it's hard to overstate what Covington's all-around game meant to the Sixers' big jump last season. The team ranked third in defensive efficiency.
Another guy who, like Holiday, brings star power to this team of Draymonds, but Horford may be the most understated "star" in the NBA. I mean, he was the last guy selected when LeBron James and Steph Curry chose shirts and skins for the All-Star Game, which was the most Al Horford-thing ever. Horford finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season as the anchor of a defense that was locked in a virtual tie with the Utah Jazz as the NBA's best. Horford averaged only 12.9 points in 2017-18 -- his lowest average over the past six seasons -- but he also averaged 7.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He is the poster boy for unselfish effort.
Adams does the little things as well as any big man in the NBA. Adams, who finished 12th in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season as an anchor of the Thunder's top-10 defense, had the best season of his career in the counting stats last season, averaging a career-high 13.9 points and 9.0 rebounds. But that's not his most-telling statistic. Adams led the NBA in box outs and screen assists per game. That's why Adams earns $25 million a year.
VanVleet is Tiny Draymond. He's one of the best point guard defenders in the league despite being sub-6 feet tall. The Raptors are so clearly better when he is on the floor. Only three players in the NBA had a better net rating during last year's regular season than VanVleet's 12.1 net rating. Those players are named Curry, Eric Gordon and Chris Paul.
Iguodala is aging, but you were still able to see his impact on the Warriors when he was missing for a spell during the playoffs. One of the many keys to the Warriors dynasty is that they have two of the smartest defenders of all time in Green and Iguodala. Only Curry had a better net rating on the Warriors than Iguodala last season.
Mbah a Moute got votes for the Sixth Man of the Year award last season when he was an underrated part of the Houston Rockets' underrated defense that ranked fifth in the NBA.
The super-switchy Siakam ranked 20th in defensive box plus-minus last season. He was among the most impactful defenders on a defense that was among the NBA's most stingy.
The 6-foot-5 Tucker, who ranked seventh in the NBA in plus-minus, closed plenty of the Rockets' closest games at center.
Patrick Beverley, Los Angeles Clippers: One of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. Relentless at causing deflections and chasing down loose balls.
Aron Baynes, Boston Celtics: Baynes isn't just a bruiser. Just look at what he did in the playoffs: guarding smaller player, racing back in transition, and hitting 3-pointers. After attempting a total of 28 3-pointers in six NBA seasons, Baynes put up 24 3-pointers in last year's playoffs -- and made them at a 47.8 percent clip.
Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers: Harrell was one of the most efficient players in the NBA around the rim last season, with a shooting percentage that ranked third in the league. Harrell ranked 12th in the NBA in player efficiency rating last season.
Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs: There are certainly holes in Murray's offensive game -- namely, the 26.5 percent shooting from 3-point range last season. But he's one of the best on-ball defenders in the league. Murray ranked sixth in defensive box plus-minus last season. Only LaMarcus Aldridge had a better net rating than Murray on the Spurs.
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