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The only way Draymond Green’s shooting slump matters

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We have that and more in Wednesday’s NBA newsletter.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers blasted the Warriors in front of the whole world on Tuesday, despite LeBron James missing part of the game with a groin strain. Draymond Green had a pretty rough game amid a rough offensive season, so this Golden State has given rise to some conversation about Green’s drooping impact and its effect on the Warriors’ bottom line.

It’s true that Green has had an awful shooting season. He’s shooting just 22 percent from deep this season, his worst mark since his rookie season. He’s actually only ever had one good shooting season — 38 percent in the 73-win season — but this is especially bad. His overall shot frequency and free throw rate are in the tank. His assist rate remains high -- he leads the team in assists per game by a decent margin for a power forward -- but his turnovers are up this year.

You know what effect all this lackluster offense from Draymond Green has had on the Warriors? A rather limited amount. It means opponents can drop off and throw more bodies and attention at Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, but Golden State is still No. 1 in the NBA in offensive efficiency. The Warriors are No. 1 in effective field goal percentage and True Shooting percentage, too. Offense isn’t the problem here. The defense has fallen off — the Warriors are No. 13 in defensive efficiency as of Wednesday.

Here’s the rub: according to on-off stats at NBA.com, no Warrior has a better impact on the team’s defense than Green. The Warriors’ defense when Green is on the floor gives up 102.5 points per 100 possessions, best on the team. When he’s off the floor — as he was for quite a while when dealing with injury — the Warriors have a defensive efficiency of 110.7. (Green’s offensive on-off numbers are 110 on, 112 off. Not a huge difference.)

The Warriors’ offense can survive at the top with Green heaving bricks and shooting infrequently. The Warriors’ defense cannot apparently survive Green sitting on the bench. Therefore, the biggest way Green’s shooting slump can impact the Warriors is if it leads Steve Kerr to play Green fewer minutes, thus taking his much-needed defense away.

Scores

Bucks 109, Knicks 95
Thunder 109, Rockets 113
Sixers 114, Celtics 121
Lakers 127, Warriors 101
Blazers 96, Jazz 117

Schedule

All times Eastern. On League Pass unless otherwise noted.

Wizards at Pistons, 7
Suns at Magic, 7
Pacers at Hawks, 7:30
Hornets at Nets, 7:30
Raptors at Heat, 7:30, NBA TV
Timberwolves at Bulls, 8
Cavaliers at Grizzlies, 8
Pelicans at Mavericks, 8:30
Nuggets at Spurs, 8:30
Kings at Clippers, 10:30

Links

Paul Flannery on the state of the NBA at the end of December.

The best and worst Christmas sneakers.

James Harden is playing even better than he did when he won MVP.

I thought this piece from Alex Kirshner on LeBron quoting antisemitic lyrics on Instagram and offering a pretty light apology after removing them was good.

LeBron makes sure everyone knows he’s recruiting superstars to LA.

I wrote about the most important stories of the season to date.

Scott Cacciola on how Lonzo Ball is adjusting to playing with LeBron.

Rajon Rondo on Rajon Rondo.

A history of Gregg Popovich ejections.

Be excellent to each other.