The Golden State Warriors really missed Draymond Green in their season opener.
The Golden State Warriors have fallen on hard times after one of the most dominant five-year stretches in NBA history. Despite appearing in five straight Finals and winning three of them, the Dubs were repeatedly bitten by the injury bug in the 2019 NBA Finals, costing them Kevin Durant to an Achilles tear and Klay Thompson to an ACL tear.
The Warriors lost that series, lost KD in free agency, lost Thompson for the 2019-20 campaign due to his injury and ultimately, made it really easy to tank when Stephen Curry broke his hand three games in.
That left Draymond Green to basically fend for himself in a once star-studded Golden State lineup, and the results were incredibly underwhelming. His numbers stayed at 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game despite his team needing more out of him, his shooting percentages plummeted to .389/.279/.759 splits and he only played 43 games overall.
The Warriors had no need for Green to overexert himself in a lost season, of course, but it was perfectly valid to question how much the 30-year-old would have left in the tank once the Splash Brothers were ready to return to action and reanimate the dynasty.
As it turns out, we won’t get the answer to that question — with or without Klay — just yet. While Thompson is now out for the second straight season due to a devastating Achilles tear, Curry was back on the floor for the Dubs’ 2020-21 season opener Tuesday night. The problem is Green unfortunately wasn’t, and the results were pretty telling.
The Warriors badly missed Draymond Green in their season opener
In a wall-to-wall blowout, the Brooklyn Nets spanked the Warriors on opening night, going up 18-8 early on and never looking back. They held a 40-25 advantage by the end of the first quarter and led by as many as 38 points in a complete rout.
Curry was rusty, tallying 20 points and 10 assists on just 7-of-21 shooting, including 2-for-10 from deep. Kelly Oubre Jr. and Andrew Wiggins, two wings Golden State will desperately need to step up this season, were atrocious, combining for as many made field goals (seven) as they did turnovers. James Wiseman had a strong debut, but anytime a rookie playing in his first game in 13 months is your second-best player, you’re probably not going to find much success.
The cavalry isn’t coming in the form of another Splash Brother, but the Warriors’ resounding 125-99 loss on Tuesday wouldn’t have been so uncompetitive with Draymond on the court. While Green is nowhere near as athletic as he was during his prime, he’s still a versatile, capable and communicative defender, which is something the Dubs badly missed as Brooklyn’s offense tore them to shreds.
Green is hardly a reliable 3-point shooter anymore, but his playmaking out of pick-and-rolls with Curry was a huge part of what made Golden State’s offense tick during its reign. That, in turn, will help Wiggins and Oubre — fairly limited shooters — capitalize in 4-on-3 situations as cutters. Wiggins and Oubre aren’t nearly as bad as they showed in the season opener, and Green’s return will help utilize some of their biggest strengths by taking the ball out of their hands and not asking them to do too much as ball-handlers or playmakers.
Are the Warriors title contenders this year without Thompson? Definitely not. But writing them off as a potential playoff squad — even in the loaded Western Conference — feels like an overreaction given that it was one bad game played without someone whose impact on both ends of the floor is still significant.