Will Draymond Green’s Suspension Affect the NBA Finals

Draymond Green Suspension

Via our friends at numberFire.

The league announced on Monday that Draymond Green will be suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Green was retroactively assessed a flagrant foul for an incident that occurred in the dying minutes of Game 4. That ruling pushes him over the limit for flagrant foul points in the playoffs, which results in an automatic one-game suspension.

Here’s the play in question, which occurred with 2:48 remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 4:

This marks the third time in just the last two rounds of this postseason that Green has been singled out for hitting another player in the genitals (incidents from which all of his previous flagrant foul points came).

There are debates raging on in NBA circles everywhere about Green’s aggressive play and whether or not he’s a dirty player, but that kind of commentary is not really our thing.

Instead, here’s a look at how the numbers suggest the Warriors will be able to perform in Game 5 without Green, including how our algorithms differ in projecting the outcome both with and without Draymond in the fold.

On/Off Splits

Stephen Curry may have been the first unanimous MVP in league history this season, but it’s still normal to question if he’s even been the most important player on his own team this year.

Draymond Green finished seventh in MVP voting himself, while being named to the All-Defensive First Team and All-NBA Second Team. The Warriors losing him — even if it’s only for one game and they already have a 3-1 series lead — has the potential to be a big deal.

Here’s how the Warriors have performed this postseason with Green on the floor versus how they’ve done when he’s been on the bench:

Situation MIN Off Rtg Def Rtg Net Rtg REB% eFG% PACE
Draymond on the floor 792 112.1 100.4 11.6 49.2% 54.9% 100.74
Draymond on the bench 221 102.2 103.5 -1.3 47.0% 49.6% 98.01

As you can see, the Warriors are simply better with Draymond on the floor than without him.

With him, they have a much better Offensive Rating (points scored per 100 possessions) and Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions), grab a larger percentage of the available rebounds (Rebound Percentage), shoot a better Effective Field Goal Percentage (weighted twos and threes), and do a better job of pushing the pace (possessions per 48 minutes).

Part of the discrepancy between his on/off splits can be attributed to the fact that he generally plays a lot with fellow All-Stars Curry and Klay Thompson, but Green’s 12.9-point difference in Net Rating (points scored minus points allowed per 100 possessions) between his time on and off the floor is the highest differential on the team. He also leads the team in On-Court Plus-Minus this postseason at +153, while the Warriors are a team-worst -15 during his time on the bench. In fact, he’s the only Warrior to even have a negative Off-Court Plus-Minus this postseason.

With Curry and Thompson both struggling with their shot at different points in this series, Green was becoming a heavy favorite for Finals MVP, thanks to his averages of 14.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.3 blocks per contest through four games. His absence, even for only one game, has the potential to be a problem for Golden State.


One of the big advantages of having a player like Green on your team is that his positional versatility unlocks so many interesting lineup combinations.

The best example of this is the Warriors’ infamous “Death Lineup”, which consists of Curry, Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond — a former small forward — at center. In 35 minutes of action this postseason, that lineup has a ridiculous Net Rating of 30.5, based on an otherworldly Offensive Rating of 130.7 and a Defensive Rating of 100.2.

Of the Warriors’ seven most-used lineups this postseason (all the ones with over 25 minutes of action), Draymond is involved in all but one of them.

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)


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