NBA News: The Warriors Can't Win Without Draymond Green, Says Festus Ezeli

Draymond Green dribbling
Getty | Jim McIsaac

Ernesto Cova

The Golden State Warriors are going through a tough stretch right now. They can't seem to get a stop in the paint, their shooters are struggling to find open looks, and they've failed to compete at a high level for 48 minutes.

The fact that Draymond Green has been out for a while probably has something to do with it. He's their defensive anchor, most vocal player, and one of their primary playmakers.

The Warriors Are Built Around Green

Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry sitting on the bench
Getty | San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images

Green's absence has only shown how vital he is for this team. In fact, former Warriors big man Festus Ezeli even claims that Steve Kerr's system is built entirely around him:

"Draymond is the most important key to this team. Why? Because they built a system around him," Ezeli said, per Fadeaway World. "They built a system around the 3 guys which is Draymond, Steph, and Klay. He might not be the best player on the team, but he's the most important."

They Need Green's Defense

Draymond Green
Getty | Ezra Shaw

The Dubs have played near .500 on the 25 games Green has missed. Per Ezeli, it all goes down to the lack of a defensive anchor:

"This year, they're deciding that small-ball is the way we're gonna go... for that to be effective, we need our Defensive Player of the Year in the back to anchor us," Ezeli added. "That's why they went out to this huge lead to start the season, they're 2nd in the NBA still, even with going 14-11 in the last games."

Green Is The Warriors' Leader, Says Ezeli

Draymond Green flexing
Giphy | NBA

Moreover, the Dubs have craved a guy who steps up and speaks up when things get tough. Green is known for being a vocal leader, and that's who they need on the floor right now:

"When you miss a guy like Draymond, who calls out all the coverages, who sets great screens for Steph and Klay to get open, who is the leader and the heart of the team...of course you're going to miss Draymond," Ezeli concluded.

Green's Rim Protection Is A Big Factor

Draymond Green blocking a shot
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The Dubs have struggled to keep their rivals away from the paint. Recently, coach Steve Kerr talked about the importance of making adjustments to protect the rim in Green's absence:

“There’s a lot more room to attack the rim without Draymond," Kerr said after the loss to the Mavs. "Draymond’s one of the best rim protectors in the league… that’s been an issue for us for sure.”

He's Still Some Weeks Away

Draymond Green playing defense
Getty | Ezra Shaw

Green is making strides in his recovery but won't rush himself back into action:

“I’m trying to stick to as fast as I can possibly get back,” Green told ESPN. “From where I am, you feel like it’s three weeks or so, but it could be five weeks or so. It’s no set thing. In a week and a half, it could be like my conditioning is at a level, my strength is at a level, my explosiveness is at a level where you can go back out there.”

The Dubs need their leader back for the playoffs, so hopefully, he'll be back on the court sooner rather than later.