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Draymond Green Roasts Tony Allen During Debate About Best Defender of All Time

Liam McKeone
Draymond Green
Draymond Green / Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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Draymond Green is indisputably one of the best modern defenders to grace the parquet. Where exactly he falls on those all-time rankings is a matter of much debate, but the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year award winner and five-time All-NBA Defense nominee has a strong case to be considered among the very best of all time. His switchability led to a revolution of NBA strategy, the first small-ball center in basketball history who could legitimately guard everybody from point guard to center. Teams have spent the last half-decade trying to find their own Draymond Green to no avail. The Golden State Warriors were an incredible offensive team during their dynastic run because of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant. They were an almost equally incredible defensive team because of Green.

He may not have the statistics to back up that claim, but he certainly has the hardware and anyone who watched his playoff runs appreciates the intelligence and defensive ability he brings to the table. Green, like most athletes, believes he is the best at what he does-- which is defend at an extremely high level. He said as much in a public forum, a quote picked up by the SportsCenter Twitter account.

Tony Allen, one of the best wing defenders to enter the NBA this century, saw this claim. Allen was an absolute force on that end of the court in his heyday, named to six All-Defense teams throughout his career, including three first-team selections. He did not agree with Green's statement and said as much.

Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what stamped means in this context. But I believe I grasp Allen's larger point. As good as Green is, it's more his ability to be in the right spot at the right time, every time, that impacts the game. As opposed to guys like Allen , who matched up against the best wing scorers in the NBA on a nightly basis and was tasked with limiting those scorers, often succeeding.

I mean, I don't know if there's a right answer as to which of those responsibilities is more difficult or if doing more of one makes a player better than another. They're both really hard! Green directs all the traffic on the back end and keeps the defense airtight every single game. Allen made sure one guy couldn't do anything that night, but that one guy was usually the most dangerous player on the court.

Green decided to avoid getting into an actual argument about that and went straight for Allen's throat by pointing out that one of Allen's playoff series losses came to be largely because the Warriors literally ignored him when he was on offense.

The Big Lead can confirm this is true. The Grit-n-Grind Grizzlies of 2015 featured two low-post bangers in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, beating teams into submission on the boards and refusing to give up anything on defense. Allen was an integral part of that. It couldn't have been a stronger contrast to those Warriors, who played fast and free, launching up deep jumpers at any given time.

Because of that contrast, Golden State had a mighty tough time taking down the Grizzlies in the Western Conference semifinals that year. Until they figured out that Allen, who was an extremely bad shooter at his peak and at this point was 33-years-old, could simply be left alone in the corner. Steve Kerr had Andrew Bogut "guard" Allen by sitting in and around the paint and stifling any drives into the restricted area while Allen sat in the corner behind the three-point line. Bogut never ventured out to try and faceguard Allen because he didn't have to. Once the Warriors did that, the tide changed permanently.

So, yeah, Allen might be right about Green. But Green has the ultimate trump card, and he played it. Allen did respond, but it wasn't quite the same level of scorched Earth that Green went with. Or maybe it is. I don't know. The stamp thing remains a mystery.

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