The Warriors are a very good basketball team. We know this, and have known this for a very long time. They were ahead of the curve on offense and have transformed the NBA into the Warriors vs. the People Trying to Beat the Warriors. After a 73-9 (how?) season in 2015-16, they (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) blew a 3-1 series lead to lose in the NBA Finals to LeBron James and his friends. They signed a former MVP/future evil villain in Kevin Durant, and the rest is history. After a Game 3 loss to the Pelicans, they decided to start their “Death Lineup” in Game 4, and any team with a lineup called the “Death Lineup” is not a team you want to play a game of basketball against.
Scary lineup names are all well and good, but let’s get to the point: Who is the most important player on the Warriors? Not the BEST, mind you, but the most important. The best player is Steph Curry. That’s a whole different article.
Is it Zaza Pachulia? No. No, he’s really not. Nope… Nothing easy.
Is it Jordan Bell, Chris Boucher, Kevon Looney, Damian Jones, Patrick McCaw, or David West? No, sadly. They all know how to play basketball, and they stop the Warriors from having to play all the good guys too many minutes, but no. P.S: Jordan Bell had the best interview quote of all time in December.
Is it Javale McGee and/or Nick Young? My heart tells me yes. I want so badly to say that these two are the most important, but I also like my journalistic credibility and don’t want to lose that.
Is it Shaun Livingston? For what has happened to Livingston injury-wise throughout his whole career, he’s still really really good. For those uninitiated, here’s a very blurry video of Shaun Livingston’s knee literally dying. After that, Livingston was a journeyman who saw the floor a decent amount, but injuries kept him from being a go-to guy. Granted, he’s still not a go-to guy on the Warriors, but he’s actually probably the best post-up player on the team. Most important, though? No. Sorry, Shaun. You rule.
Is it Quinn Cook? The fact that I haven’t grouped him with the other bench players says enough. Cook’s success story makes my heart feel warm, and he’s the closest thing to us normal humans that sees more than garbage time minutes on the Warriors basketball superhero roster. He also played amazing games in place of Steph Curry down the stretch of the regular season, and the Warriors are better off for having him on the roster. He’s not the most important, but he’s a fun success story after signing a guaranteed contract rather than a two-way so he could get some playoff minutes (RIP Omri Casspi).
Is it Andre Iguodola? The 2015 NBA Finals MVP definitely doesn’t get enough credit. He’s one member of the super-scary aptly-named “Death Lineup” because he can score decently, plays good defense, and throws pinpoint passes to the other important guys in the “Death Lineup.” He’s very good, and he’s most likely the fifth best player on the Warriors. When he brings the ball up, the offense isn’t stagnant, and he also does an incredibly job of defending guys like LeBron, especially for his age. Andre, if he was on a team with like two other talented guys instead of four, would probably be top three in most important. But that’s not the case, so he’s not the most important player on the Warriors.
Is it Klay Thompson? Klay Thompson is best known as a guy that doesn’t dribble the basketball at all. I think he knows how to do it, probably, but he doesn’t, because he never has to, because he’s always open when he gets the ball. Always. That’s how he scored 37 points in a quarter. Underrated? Absolutely, yes. I think with a solid, pass-first point guard, he could be a team’s leading scorer in a BIG way. He also plays excellent defense, and has done an incredible job defending LeBron James in three straight Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals (ugh). But on the Warriors, he is not that. He is the third option on an incredibly good basketball team. He’s not the most important, but I love him and he should be highly valued.
Is it Kevin Durant? I’m gonna say no. He plays amazing defense, and he’s a great volume scorer. But, as I sit and watch Game 4 of the Warriors/Pelicans series, I see him brick a lot of midrange jumpers, talk a lot to referees, and generally slow down the Warriors. When Durant is locked in, he’s locked in and could probably score like 150 points if you let him play a whole game, but when he starts to slow down, the entire team slows down with him. You could argue that that would make him the most important player, but I’m not listening to you. I can’t hear you, this is an article. He affects the pace of play, and he monopolizes the offense, but I don’t know if that makes him important or just frustrating to watch (it’s the second one).
If you’ve noticed, there’s only two players left: Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. Let’s talk about both of these guys. A two-time MVP, or an offensive Swiss Army Knife. A guy that’s confident taking a shot from anywhere on or off the floor, or a guy that’s confident stepping right over LeBron James in an NBA Finals game.
Guys that are on a roster for toughness over talent (i.e. Matt Barnes, Kendrick Perkins, Joakim Noah) usually have little to offer, but Draymond Green is more tough than he his talented, and but he’s still very much both of those things. He’s good for a triple double on any given night, he can defend any position including Unicorn, and he’s absolutely ruthless in his pursuit of victory (just ask Steven Adams and his very hurt groin area).
Most Valuable Players are also very important to teams. Steph Curry monopolizes defenses, wows crowds, and scores basically at will. He’s a great playmaker, but part of that comes from teams deciding to double him so he doesn’t score. He makes up for his lack of size at point guard with quickness and strength, and makes layups that confuse everyone and then make everyone go “wow.” The Warriors also struggled mightily without a guy like Curry, as their entire offense has to change to make up for a lack of pure ridiculousness at the point guard position.
Overall, I’d have to say Steph Curry is the most important player on the Warriors. I know that answer is boring, but Steph is Steph. I’m sorry, I really honestly am. I want it to be Nick Young or Javale McGee, trust me, I do. But it’s just gotta be #30. He’s the shoulder-shimmying, mouth guard-throwing, fun-having king of the Bay Area, and he will be respected as such. Now, I’m going back to watching this Game 4 blowout. Have a good day.