<
>

Draymond Green is not a superstar -- or is he?

play
Green credits defense for Game 1 victory (1:20)

Warriors forward Draymond Green explains how Golden State's defense propelled them to victory without Stephen Curry playing. He also shares his thoughts on earning his second career playoff triple-double. (1:20)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Draymond Green set the record for plus-minus in a season, with the Golden State Warriors outscoring opponents by a mere 1,070 points in 2015-16. Draymond Green is not a superstar.

Draymond Green led all players in real plus-minus this season, after finishing in the top 8 last season. Draymond Green is not a superstar.

Through six playoff games, with Stephen Curry only assisting in four total quarters of action, Draymond Green is +120, averaging 14.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.3 assists. Draymond Green is not a superstar.

"Draymond Green is not a superstar," is a strong article of faith, an accepted basketball wisdom. As a non-ball dominant, misfit "big man," who rarely creates his own shot, Green probably will never score over 20 points a game and market a signature shoe to the masses. Aesthetically, he won't fit the "superstar" mold, like, say, Blake Griffin. It's fair to wonder, though, if he's actually better than a couple of players commercially feted for superstardom.

At a certain point, evidence of Green's impact has to alter our perception of NBA value. Appraisals must go beyond, "heart," and "emotional leader." Green might not be as valuable as, say, Curry, but he has done much to validate Jerry West's "Top 10 player," call. His consistent, complete play is eroding the stigmas of "second-round pick" and "tweener."

Andrew Bogut, who despises all things popular, might lead the charge in how popular basketball culture regards Green's game. After Golden State's 118-106 Game 1 dispatching of the Blazers, flanked by Klay Thompson on the podium stage, the big man casually made a bold statement in Green's favor. In an aside on Golden State limiting turnovers, Bogut said, "But Draymond is huge for us. His playmaking ability, his defensive ability, he's probably the best all-around player in the league at this point."

Thompson nodded as Bogut said it, showing more affirmation than surprise. Green had just claimed 23 points, 13 boards and 11 assists, while delivering nightmares to the Portland offense. When Bogut was targeted to come up high on Damian Lillard's pick and rolls, Green was placed at center to end that plan of attack. Green's a valuable wild card who plays as whatever you need, at whatever time.

"Best all-around player," is a slippery definition, allowing some room between that classification and the player who's actually best. James Harden, whose game is completely different from Green's, once proclaimed himself the "best all-around player," back in 2014. Obviously, this term is still a working definition in the hoops lexicon.

In this case, it probably speaks to Green's breadth of skill -- his abilities as a passer, ball handler, defender (of all positions), post-up option, rim protector, screener, plus catch-and-shoot 3-point threat. He's the NBA's current king of versatility.

When told of Bogut's statement and asked whether he's comfortable with the description, Green laughed, "I'm comfortable with it," he said. "I've never been one that's not too comfortable with much. But no, I think there's a lot of great all-around players in the game. You'll never hear me call myself that. But they are going to call me that, I'll take it. I'm not going to shy away from it."

On a day when he claimed another triple-double while disrupting Portland's entire offensive game plan, Green could comfortably sit back as others touted his quality.

There was a sea change in believing Green was capable of NBA minutes. After that, people (as in, Steve Kerr) had to be convinced he could start. Then, the idea that maybe, just maybe, he's better than Kevin Love. Then, Green's status as an All-Star. Perhaps Draymond Green, "superstar," is next. Or at least, whatever "best all-around" means.