Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
Draymond Green is another player who could be a perennial contender for this squad. Like others here, Green fills up the box score in every category but points.
The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks opined about his all-around game earlier this month after Draymond signed a four-year, $100 million extension:
“Few players can impact the game like a fully engaged version of Draymond. At 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, he’s a former Defensive Player of the Year who can hold his own in the post against bigger players and switch screens and stay in front of smaller players on the perimeter. His defensive versatility is the key to Golden State’s ability to play small and run bigger teams off the floor. He is just as important to its offense, even with his poor outside shooting (28.5 percent from 3 on 2.5 attempts per game last season). Green can play as a point forward and find cutters all over the floor, which allows the Splash Brothers to threaten the defense while moving off the ball.”
Green has been the perfect complement to Curry during this Warriors dynasty. Because of his passing and ball-handling ability, Green can set the screen in a pick-and-roll with Curry much higher than most bigs. When the defenders involved double Curry coming off the screen, Draymond can catch the ball outside the three-point line and essentially run a four-on-three drill.
The synergy between those two is a big part of why they’re so far ahead of everyone in total plus/minus over the last five seasons.
In the regular and postseason combined, Curry is plus-4,855, first in the league. Draymond’s plus-4,356 is second. Third-place Klay Thompson is another 647 points behind.
Next season, Green’s versatility on both ends will be as important as ever. With Kevin Durant gone and Thompson out for much of the season, the Curry-Green connection will take center stage again.
Larry Nance Jr.
As a member of the 19-63 Cleveland Cavaliers, Larry Nance Jr. toiled in relative obscurity last season. But he toiled at a high level.
He may not score a ton of points, but his unprecedented combination of other box score numbers makes the 26-year-old one of the league’s more intriguing young(ish) big men.
Another defensive specialist, PJ Tucker has provided a large portion of the title-contending Houston Rockets’ toughness over the last two seasons.
His shooting has been a reliable outlet for Harden’s drives as well. In his six NBA campaigns before he joined the Rockets, Tucker shot 35.1 percent from deep. In Houston, that number has jumped to 37.4 percent.
“There’s no doubting Tucker’s importance to the squad,” SB Nation’s Darren Yuvan wrote. “His defensive versatility, high motor and wicked corner three have made him a perfect fit for the James Harden-era Rockets.”