The NBA on Sunday assessed Golden State Warriors Draymond Green a flagrant 1 foul for his altercation with LeBron James during their Game 4 win. What effect will this have on the Warriors, and on these compelling Finals Series?
Draymond Green is without doubt the most influential player in the Warriors line up. Statistics show that the Warriors thrive whenever the 4th year guard has positive +/- ratings, and in most of the games in these Finals, he’s had the most impact in that department. In Game 1, the Warriors were plus-14 with Green on the floor, they were -1 with Curry. Only Andre Iguodala (plus-21 and Shaun Livingston (plus-20) had more influence than Green. That was the game the bench won for the Warriors. In Game 2 which the Warriors won by 33 points, five Warriors, including Green were over 20 plus- In the Game 3 that the Warriors lost by 30, every Warrior recorded negative efficiency, but even then, Green had the most ‘positive’ negative with -15, every other starter recorded over -20.
His suspension leaves Warriors with a hole-in-the-middle. Green can play any position on the front court, and he has been the major reason that the fearsome Cavaliers rebounding machine of Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov have been kept relatively under control. With Green out, Cavaliers will likely have more second-chance points. Unless the so-far-cold Andre Bogut steps up.
Warriors will miss a critical cog in defence. The Warriors run a well-oiled defence where players switch effortlessly and help each other on weak sides, and Green, with his athleticism and quick feet, is an integral part of that process. His absence will expose Warriors, who must work extra hard to contain the motivated troika of LeBron, Irving and Love, especially on the perimeter.
Warriors will miss a leader on the floor. Green was livid, yelling at his (senior) team mates when they were being pulverized in Game 3, he showed up big in Game 4 and was influential with his hustle plays and aggression as the Champions regained control of the Series. Curry is not as vocal as Green, and the Champions must quickly find another leader.
The only thing going for Warriors will be the crowd at the Oracle Arena: the Strength in Numbers cry will ring all night, but even then, it will be a tough night for the Champions. The game is difficult to call!