Draymond Green vs. Tristan Thompson
*photo via USA Today
Draymond Green, Power Forward, Golden State Warriors
14.0 ppg, 10.8rpg, 5.3apg, 42.9 Fg%, 26.4 3P%,1.7stl, 1.2 blk, 3.0 tos
Draymond Green is an undersized power forward who finished second place in the Defensive Player of the Year award voting, At six foot eight inches, Green is able to use his size and quickness to defend both on in the perimeter and in the post. Green is also a tremendous rebounder and once he has secured the rebound, he is able to quickly push the ball up the floor and either attack the rim himself or set up plays for his teammates. Although he is shooting well below the league average from 3-point range, Green is capable of knocking down the long ball, usually set up by a pick and pop scenario. With his combination of defensive skills and offensive touch, Green is certain to play an integral part for his Warriors team in this year’s NBA Finals.
Although Green is putting up very nice numbers this postseason, he is struggling with finding his range from downtown. In the regular season he was a 33.7 percent shooter from the three-point line, however in these playoffs, Green is shooting at a far worse clip at 26.4 percent. The Warriors’ starting power forward is also turning the ball over at a higher rate compared to the regular season, where he averaged only 1.7 turnovers a game compared to the 3.0 he averages in these playoffs. For the Warriors to improve their chances of winning this year’s Larry Obrien Trophy, Green must improve his 3-point shooting as well as take better care of the basketball.
Tristan Thompson, Power Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers
9.4ppg, 9.9rpg, 0.5apg, 59.3 Fg%, 0.0% 3P%, 0.1 stl, 1.3 blk, 0.7 tov
Tristan Thompson has been the Cavalier’s new starting power forward since the injury to Kevin Love forced him to miss the remainder of the playoffs. Thompson’s biggest strengths are his ability to rebound the basketball and his high motor. Thompson is one of the best offensive rebounders in the NBA and in these playoffs he is averaging four offensive rebounds a game. His high-energy style of play, combined with his knack for coming up with 50/50 rebounds allows him to gain extra possessions for his Cavaliers team. At six foot nine inches, Thompson is a good defender and is capable of holding his own when caught out on switches. His play of late is putting the whole NBA on notice and he must be a force on the glass for the Cavaliers in these 2015 NBA Finals.
Although Thompson shoots a very high percentage from the field at 59.3 percent, he is not too much of a scoring threat. Most of Thompson’s points come off of offensive rebounds or lob plays. This can allow defenses to key in more on the scorers in Kyrie Irving and Lebron James and really pack the paint to make it tough to score. Another flaw in Thompson’s game is his free-throw shooting. After switching shooting hands from left to right upon entering his second season as a pro, Thompson is still looking to find a nice and consistent stroke. In these playoffs, he is shooting 58.1 percent from the line. His poor free throw shooting has even forced teams to foul him intentionally, as we have seen a lot with other guys in these playoffs like Dwight Howard and Deandre Jordan. His free throw shooting must improve if he wants to be regarded as a max contract guy.
Entering Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June the 4th, 2015, both starting power forwards will play tremendous roles in their team’s success. At this moment, Draymond Green’s experience, versatility and scoring give him the upper hand, as he is able to guard multiple positions on the floor. He may also be tasked with guarding Lebron James in order to try and slow down the “King”. His defense is too invaluable to this Warrior’s team and his presence is just that much more valuable compared to Thompson for their respective teams. Expect both players to come out and play with enormous amounts of energy in hopes of helping their respective teams earn basketball’s most prestigious award.
Stats via NBA.com