The reigning champions Golden State Warriors have started the 2022-23 season poorly, winning just four of their first 11 games. People around the league have prematurely called for the team to blow it up and retool the roster, with Draymond Green being the common target as a trade piece. But his former teammate Matt Barnes recently came to the defense of the 11-year veteran.
"He's not the best player on the team," said Barnes in a recent episode of Shannon Sharpe's podcast. "But this team wins no championships without Draymond Green. And that's not a far-fetched, that's not a hot take. That's just facts. And I think if you ask Steph [Curry] and Klay [Thompson] that, they would say the same thing."
The Swiss Army knife is not to blame
Green has been getting a lot of flak for his lack of statistical output throughout his career. He has even been dubbed Mr. Triple Single by the guys on Inside the NBA. However, as Barnes said, Draymond's contribution to the team cannot be measured by just raw numbers.
"He does so many things, whether it be offensively, getting guys the ball in the right spots and getting guys organized like a quarterback out there, or being a six-six if you're lucky on a good day," Barnes continued. "Defensive Player of the Year that can cover for everyone else's mistakes. And then just his energy, and he walks that fine line, and sometimes he crosses it. But that's what makes him Draymond. So, I think he takes a lot of heat because you look at the stat sheet, and it's not going to tell the whole story."
The 32-year-old forward is recording 8.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game for his career. He hasn't even finished with a double-double average for an entire regular season. However, his roles as a floor general and defensive anchor are certainly irreplaceable and have served as an integral cog in the Warriors' machine.
The notion that his lack of production this season is to blame for Golden State's poor record is quite unfounded. In fact, his on/off stats show that the Warriors are much better offensively and defensively when Green is on the court.
A huge problem right now for the team is ugly team defense, allowing opponents to score 120.6 points per game, the second-worst in the league. In addition, the bench unit has not been performing well, scoring just 35.2 points per game.
Is Dray a future Hall of Famer?
Another interesting tidbit from Barnes' praise of Green is that he believes the four-time All-Star will eventually make it to the Hall of Fame.
"When he goes in the Hall of Fame, people are going to be talking 20, 25 years from now, 'That motherf***er averaged eight points and eight rebounds and eight assists, like how is he in the Hall? But at the same time, he's a winner. It's four championships. It's All-Stars. It's an Olympic gold. Ton of money. Defensive Player of the Year. He gave a lot of people, like how Steph gave smaller guards an opportunity, he gave a lot of Swiss Army knives an opportunity to get a look in the NBA now."
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said earlier this year that he knows Green is a Hall of Famer.
Basketball-Reference.com's HOF probability shows that the Michigan native has a 76.8% chance of getting inducted. If he continues his strong play and helps Golden State achieve more playoff success, that number can likely rise.