“He’s The Heart And Soul Of That Team”| Struggling Warriors Won’t Win NBA Title Without Glue Guy Draymond Green

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Golden State Warriors have dreams of winning a fourth NBA championship during the Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green era. But with Thompson just coming back in January after a two-year hiatus due to numerous injuries and with Green out due to a disc issue in his back, those title hopes currently don’t look too promising.

Green last touched the court on Jan. 9 since coming down what the team originally called a calf injury, but tests revealed the calf injury is stemming from a disc issue in his lower back.

The Warriors were 30-9 when Green went out and have gone just 13-10 in his absence. They’ve lost six of their past eight games, including stinkers to the Knicks, Nuggets and Mavericks. 

During this losing stretch their only wins have been over the lowly Blazers and Lakers. It’s not time to hit the panic button, but this just shows everyone the importance of Draymond.

ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins supported the notion that Draymond’s absence is hurting Golden State following the Dubs’ blowout road loss at the Timberwolves on Monday. 

“It’s no surprise that the Warriors have been struggling since the injury to Draymond,” Perk tweeted Tuesday. “He might not be the BEST player on that team, but he’s damn sho the most IMPORTANT player on Golden State! He’s the Heart and Soul of that team! Carry the hell on….”

Green Does So Much For The Warriors

For years folks have questioned Green’s ability, and, no, he isn’t going to score 18 to 20 points per night. But what he does for the Warriors is unrivaled in the league. He’s their de facto point guard, who can get the rebound and start the break. In the Dubs’ run to three titles in four seasons, Green’s ballhandling and passing made life easier for all-world shooters the “Splash Brothers.” He’s also a great defender who can guard positions 1-5, and his IQ is on par with players like Chris Paul and LeBron James

Green’s toughness and grit is something the Warriors crave, and when he’s not in there you can see less continuity on both ends. This team was first in defensive rating through the first 39 games. Without Mean Green they slipped to 16th and can’t stop anyone in and around the paint area. Green’s also adept at calling rotations and assignments on that end that allow the Dubs to switch everything, speeding up the opponent and forcing a hurried attempt. That type of impact can’t be overlooked or overstated, as it’s been vital to their success

The Glue Guy

Green is a great communicator, and even if sometimes his approach is a bit harsh, it gets the point across. The four-time All-Star and former DPOY possesses great leadership and other intangibles you can’t teach. He makes Steve Kerr look better as a coach as well, as he’s an extension of him on the court.

When LeBron came back from down 3-1 against the 73-win Warriors, the prevailing thought is that if Draymond never got suspended for Game 6, Curry’s crew would have closed out the Cavs. Instead, without Green, the tide of the series turned, and LeBron James was able to pull off the improbable comeback for the state of Ohio. 

To Win A Title Dubs Need A Full Cast

The Warriors are built to win championships, but unless Green, Thompson and second-year center James Wiseman are all healthy that isn’t happening. Memphis is riding the emergence of Ja Morant as a superstar and moving up the Western Conference standings. 

Phoenix is hungry to get back to the Finals. Wiseman had an OK rookie season marred by injury and he’s been recovering from meniscus surgery he had over the summer. He had a second surgery in December to clean up some things. But his presence in the middle is vital for a team that may have to face the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic, and DeAndre Ayton in the postseason.

There’s been a lot of MVP talk this week, and if the voting was done today, Green wouldn’t get a vote. The unflashy facts remain. However, that nothing is more important to Golden State’s success than a healthy and engaged Draymond Green. Steve Kerr and Bob Myers know this, and the rest of the league does too.

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