The Golden State Warriors will have to make major adjustments without Draymond Green in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Here’s what Golden State will probably do.
With the Draymond Green one-game suspension for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors will have to play creatively to offset the unique loss of Green at home on Monday night.
Green has been massively important to the Warriors’ on-court success the last two seasons. He is a great outside shooter, a terrific passer, capable of defending all five positions on the court well, and perhaps most importantly, he’s the vocal leader of this juggernaut basketball team.
Green starts at power forward for the Warriors, but he takes on a huge role in the Warriors’ Death Lineup at center (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, Green). Few teams can hang with the Warriors’ Death Lineup, but with that out the window here in Game 5, here’s how Golden State can adjust on Monday night and win back-to-back NBA Championships.
Head coach Steve Kerr may elect to start Iguodala in place of Green in the starting lineup. However, if he wants to stagger minutes with Iguodala and Barnes on the floor, he may decide to start power forward Marreese Speights at the four.
Speights has been a great energy guy for the Warriors in the front court, but he does his best in limited action. If Kerr doesn’t want to play Speights extended minutes, he could divvy up Green’s minutes to Bogut, Iguodala, Barnes, and even backup center Anderson Varejao.
Do expect with Green out that the Warriors won’t be able to play at their grueling up-tempo pace. Golden State will have fewer possessions to work with and may play a more half-court style of game without Green.
This plays right into what the Cavaliers want to do to beat Golden State. However, Golden State is more than capable of unleashing the fury from beyond the arc as an elite jump-shooting team. Should Curry, Thompson, Barnes or really anybody get hot from three-point land, it might be too difficult for Cleveland to steal Game 5 in Oakland and the 2016 NBA Finals will come to a close anyway.
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