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Draymond Green’s alley-oops prove he sees the help defense before it ever comes

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You can tell yourself not to help, but with Green, it doesn’t matter.

When Draymond Green catches the ball in the half court, he’s like a quarterback receiving a snap. If Nikola Jokic is the NBA’s Tom Brady, Green is the league’s Peyton Manning. He sees what the defense is going to do, then adjusts, or audibles, accordingly.

Green not only can see what the defense is going to do, but he anticipates exactly where they’re going to do it from. For that reason, I have one request of the teams defending Green: Do not help on this man. More specifically: Do not leave a man open to help on this man.

This is not because Green can’t score. It’s more because he’s going to make your defense look foolish by taking advantage of the help. He does this more often than not by throwing an alley-oop right over the help defender’s arms. Much like Jokic, Green is playing chess while the defense is playing tic-tac-toe.

The Warriors’ Defensive Player of the Year sees the game two plays ahead on offense, too. It’s why he’s so valuable to a Warriors team attempting to win four NBA Finals in a five-year span. It’s why he’s always been one of the most important offensive players on that team, even though he’s neither shooter or a scorer.

Green is able to do this most in pick-and-roll situations. Defenses trap Stephen Curry because he’s a threat to shoot it from 30 feet out. When they do, Curry dumps the ball down to Green, racing toward the rim with an open lane. A defender usually leaves his man to get in-between Green and the rim.

It almost never works out for the defense.

This is a skill Green has been showing off since becoming a starter in the Warriors’ first title season in 2014-15. It’s a craft he’s honed to perfection, like a chess master who’s played the same opening a number of times.

Green already knows the help is coming. Once the defender rotates, he’s throwing a lob over the top of his head. This is what makes Green like Manning: he reads the defense, then calls an audible on the fly.

It works away from the play, when Green sets a screen on a player other than the ball-handler:

It works on broken plays, too.

You can even see defenders trying to react to Green. Lou Williams knew he had no choice but to show in front of him. I mean, you can’t just give a guy a lane to the rim. He’s gonna dunk it.

So Williams showed in front of Green, then tried to intercept the pass — on multiple occasions. And on both occasions, Green floated the pass right over Williams into Iguodala’s hands. Touchdown, Warriors.

This is exactly why teams want playmaking power forwards. A big man who can make the correct decision with the ball makes his team infinitely better.

Green can read defenses better than many point guards, and doing so takes the pressure off Curry and Durant to make a play. His passing, not his temper, make him a voice for the voiceless on a team making a championship run.

Is there anything defenses can do to prevent this from happening?

The logical step to stopping this play is not to trap Curry or Durant when Green sets a screen, but that leads to an isolation against a super scorer. Not smart.

So teams trap anyway, knowing the ball will be dumped down to Green, who will make the right play every time. They know he’s going to throw the alley-oop over the top, and they still bite on his drive to the rim. Green is an incredible passer and a decisive decision-maker. The only way to stop Green in this scenario is to take a charge on the pass, or gamble on the alley-oop instead of playing the layup.

In short: Don’t help on Draymond Green, because he’s only going to make you pay for it. But that’s way easier said than done.