Rockets vs. Warriors. The long-awaited matchup is here.
Golden State tipped the scales in the 2016 offseason and has rolled the league ever since. Houston is potentially the first real challenger they’ve faced since the mind-blowing addition of Kevin Durant that summer to a team that won 73 games without him.
But while the Warriors have two MVPs in their prime and a two-way All-Star that shoots 44% from three-point range, they have a fourth All-Star that might be the toughest nut for the Rockets to crack if they want to get to the NBA Finals.
Draymond Green is truly an enigma. He’s probably not an All-Star on any other team in the league, yet he’s the most unique piece on this particular team that makes it near impossible to stop. Offense vs. offense, you might be able to hang with the Warriors, but Green is a defensive gem. He can defend bigs as well as point guards, giving the Warriors elite lineup options that can switch defensively on anyone. He might be the best defensive player the league has to offer.
He also is its dirtiest.
Green is as fierce and as competitive as they come, and with that comes chippiness that registers in the 20’s on a 1-10 scale. In a series like this, expect him to pull his typical antics. Kicking, holding, elbowing, moving screens, non-stop trolling…
What can be done? Not much. The league has allowed Green to be more physical than other players for years, perhaps because of the size he generally gives up playing bigs. But let’s get this out of the way before the series starts — Green’s antics are coming and if the NBA is going to look the other way, the Rockets are going to have to keep their cool.