Here is a great example of the hype and the so called “cheap assists” I’ve seen discussed recently regarding Draymond Green. I saw these two clips on a Hoops Hype article entitles “Draymond Green Puts On Passing Clinic Vs Utah.”
To be sure, they are very pretty passes. No one is trying to take away from a guy who’s worked hard on his game. They’re nice but it’s not Draymond creating these shots.
The above is a straight up set play. Steph passes to Iggy to distract the defence. Ezili is left alone at the 3 because he can’t shoot. Ezili cuts to his spot in the paint the moment before Iggy gets the ball. Simultaneously Green cuts under the hoop to receive the pass. He then passes for the easy bucket in front of the hoop. The reason this play works isn’t because of Draymond Green’s genius passing. It works because the perimeter defence is so terrified of the shooting from Curry and Klay they leave a wide open lane for the 5 cutter. The passing lanes are wide open and created because of that shooting.
If Klay or Curry’s defender actually leaves him to stop the cut down the middle Green gets one of the easiest dimes in basketball. Green gets the dime but his contribution to setting this play up is basically waiting for others to spread the D, standing in one place, and passing to one of 3 very defined options, one of which is always going to be available without him doing anything but reading the very obvious defensive coverage and passing to the open guy.
“What a find by Draymond Green” the play by play guy says with delight. But is it really a find? Draymond is again standing in one place. On each dribble he’s cocking his arm back ready to pass inside while his all star guards are being overplayed by a defence terrified of them getting an inch of space beyond the arc. You can literally see Green waiting for others to make the play happen as he cocks his arm back to make the pass every time he dribbles.
A simple weak side screen free’s curry with a wide open baseline to the hoop. Klay’s defender doesn’t switch because it’s drilled in his head that leaving Klay equals made 3s. Green makes an easy pass through a lane he stood there waiting for, that didn’t create, and suddenly he’s miraculously done it again.
The thing is this is old hat for Stephen Curry. He annihilated defences in college as a 2 guard and is just as effective on the ball as he is off. I don’t want to take anything away from someone who’s clearly found a great role for himself on a great team. Kudos. That in itself is an accomplishment. But I can’t accept this seasons talk about Green being an elite top ten player any more than I can accept these are examples of a clinic.
It’s not a passing clinic by Draymond Green who’s playing a role in set plays created by it’s all time shooting back court.
It’s a system clinic by the Golden State Warriors.