Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Green Vital to Warriors' Success

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Green Vital to Warriors' Success

Article excerpt

The debate has raged on, who's the real Most Valuable Player in the NBA -- Stephen Curry, who earned the honor in a unanimous vote this season for his second straight award, or LeBron James, the greatest player of his generation.

But maybe, by his absence Monday, Draymond Green stated his case that he is the most valuable player on the Warriors and the most important player in this NBA Finals.

Green is hardly underrated, finishing seventh in the MVP balloting and second in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year.

But in a series with Curry and James, Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving, the player who was forced to sit out Game 5, suspended for accumulating four postseason flagrant foul points, may have actually strengthened his case to be the MVP for the Warriors.

It's an odd argument. Curry is the unanimous MVP, and Thompson is a two-way player with an offensive skill set that on many nights exceeds Curry's.

But Green is not only a talented offensive player and perhaps the most versatile defender in the game. He also is the glue that holds all of the Golden State talent and numbers together.

The Warriors boast depth and versatility and there are plenty of players who can do a little bit of what Green does. But he is the fire and the fury in hard times and the enthusiastic burst of energy in good times.

"I mean, Draymond does a little bit of everything," Thompson said after the game.

"Obviously, his playmaking, his rebounding, his communication and his heart and soul. So obviously we missed him [Monday] big time. It's not an excuse, though. We still had an opportunity to win the game. ... Yeah, it's obviously a big void to fill without Draymond out there."

Whether it has been a game like the second of the series when Green scored 28 points or one like Game 4 when he shot 2-for-9, he has an impact.

And when he wasn't there Monday, there was an impact, too. The Warriors fell, 112-97, as James and Irving each scored 41 points, the sort of thing you can't imagine happening with Green on the floor. …

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