Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green finally returned to action on Monday and delivered as expected. He did not just guide his team to a 126-112 win over the Washington Wizards, Green showed how valuable he is to Steph Curry's legacy.
Curry dropped a total of 47 points on 16-of-25 shooting from the field and 7-of-14 from deep. Comparative statistics reveal that Curry dropped 41 of these points with Green on the floor. The clincher: the two shared the floor for just 15 minutes.
Warriors fans — especially those who have been there since day one — know how immense Green's impact is on the floor. Yes, Green had just six points, seven rebounds, and six assists against the Wizards. But he's the Warriors' floor general and vocal leader. He does so many things that cannot be quantified.
The comparative stats above might not convince Green's doubters. After all, it's just one game against a subpar team. The Wizards are the fifth-worst defensive team in the league with a 113.2 rating. Green and Curry might have had a relatively easy night against them.
As such, it would be wise to look at the broader picture. What does Curry's statistics look like with and without Green for his whole career? Numbers culled by StatMuse show that with Green, Curry is averaging 26.3 points, 6.7 assists, and 4.8 rebounds. He's also shooting at a stellar 42.9 percent from deep. On the flip side of the coin, without Green, Curry is averaging 25.8 points, 6.6 assists, and 5.2 rebounds. Looking at his 3-point percentage, it has dipped down to 39.9 percent.
At face value, the differences might not mean much. But let us remind ourselves of the cliche: every point counts in a game of basketball, especially at the highest echelon. And again, if you know Green's game, he affects the game in so many ways — not just through the numbers. Curry does the same as well. His mere presence on the court already messes up with the defense's psyche. It does not matter if Curry is having a bad night. It would be plain stupidity to rotate off Curry or leave him alone once he sets foot on the logo. At any point in time, Curry could just explode for a barrage of 3-pointers. And before you know it, the game's already decided in favor of the Dubs.
Green's impact reveals how critical he's been to Curry's legacy. However, nothing should be taken away from Curry. Individual stats and contributions are the ones highlighted by the media. But at the end of the day, basketball is a team sport. Every piece should work efficiently for the machine to operate at its highest capacity.