Why Draymond Green 'smartest defensive player' Steve Kerr has ever seen

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Dray 'smartest' defender Kerr has seen after key play vs. Hornets originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Draymond Green has a defensive IQ like no other, and a decision he made late in the Warriors’ 110-105 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday confirmed that for coach Steve Kerr.

With the score tied at 101 apiece, every single decision the Warriors made in the game's final three minutes was extremely crucial, and Kerr’s message to the team at that time was very clear: Defend without fouling.

But when Green saw 7-foot Hornets center Mason Plumlee storming his way into the paint and toward the basket, Green fouled the big man. It was a smart move, Kerr said,

“The one foul down the stretch by Draymond [was] just brilliant,” Kerr told reporters postgame. “He knows that Mason Plumlee struggles from the line and he knew if Plumlee got the ball in the paint, he was going to foul him.

“That’s why Draymond is the smartest defensive player I’ve ever seen. Not just in games, but in our film sessions, everything he points out, he is so on top of the game. It’s incredible to watch his mind work out there, both in practice and in games.”

Plumlee, who shoots just 55.8 percent from the free-throw line, missed both shots from the charity stripe.

After the second missed free-throw attempt, Green grabbed the rebound and the Warriors took advantage of the possession with a Jordan Poole layup to extend their lead to six.

Those small, game-time decisions by Green typically don’t stand out on paper. But they are and have been critical for Golden State.

Green’s ability to recognize and adapt in real-time truly is a gift not every player has.

RELATED: Finding beauty, benefits in Warriors' ugly win vs. Hornets

“We talked about it in shootaround that we could foul him. I think we fouled him in Charlotte a couple of times late in the game. [Assistant coach] Kenny [Atkinson] came into the huddle and mentioned it. If Plumlee gets it near the basket, foul him. And Draymond had that on his mind.

“And then he did a great job boxing out on the second one that missed. Plumlee is tough. He always gives us a really tough time … But I thought that was a great play by Draymond to make the foul and then get the rebound on the free throw.”

They say defense wins championships.  While it wasn't the NBA Finals, it was a game the Warriors certainly needed to win if they want to ride the momentum of their eight-game home stretch for as long as possible.

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.