Is Klay Thompson Missing Minutes Due to Draymond Green? NBA Analyst Explains Steve Kerr’s Decision


They say basketball is a game of two halves. The first half of the Golden State Warriors season was laced with injuries, inconsistent performances from veterans, suspensions, and ejections, which has them languishing in the last play-in spot. However, the second half is painting a different story. Draymond Green is back, and the Warriors have started to find their footing once again. In his last eight games as the point center, the Warriors have won six. However, this has also meant a reduction in Klay Thompson’s minutes as the Warriors have figured out their new lineup.
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Brian Windhorst, in the recent episode of NBA on ESPN, quantified how the Warriors’ new starting five, consisting of Stephen Curry, Green, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, and Brandin Podziemski, has fared. In the 90 minutes they have shared the court, their net efficiency is +38, i.e., for every 100 possessions, they are outscoring their opponents by 38 points. Whereas, this number is +20 something if you take Podziemski out and put Klay in his place. This, he says, is why Steve Kerr is benching Thompson.
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Moreover, they are now on a 12-game streak of scoring 50+ points on the paint. Not only is this the second-longest streak in the NBA, but it is also the longest streak for the Warriors in 25 years! These stats only go on to justify Steve Kerr’s decision to switch up the lineup.
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The reason behind the Warriors’ improved performance
Draymond Green’s return to the lineup after a 16-game absence had an immediate impact on the team. With him on the floor, the Warriors improved their net rating, which is now third in the league with +9.4 points per 100 possessions. The Warriors had the second-worst defense in the NBA during his second suspension and now boast the second-best defense rating since Jan. 27. They are also second in rebounding rate with 54.5% and fifth in pace with 101.3 possessions per game, winning his 243 minutes by 93 points.
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While Green has been playing exceptionally well since his return, he needs to stay out of trouble for the sake of his team. It’s clear that the Warriors will need their emotional leader if they are to make a deep run into the postseason. It’s not just about the statistics; it’s also about how he impacts the team with his intangibles. However, Green’s frequent ejections and suspensions might weigh heavily on the team. Not even a month has passed since his return, and he is already embroiled in an on-court rivalry with Phoenix Suns’ center Jusuf Nurkic.
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