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Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green is a player who takes pride in his defense, so his selection to the All-Defensive Second Team this season didn’t sit right with him.
“For me, it’s a slight,” Green told reporters Tuesday. “When I look at the first team, I am not sure I can pinpoint, definitely not five guys that had a better defensive season than me.”
Green had a spectacular start to the season and was considered an early frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year. A back injury derailed those chances and sidelined him in early January, limiting him to 46 games.
However, Green believes that his extended absence shouldn’t have affected his status as one of the five best defensive players in the league.
“And there are no [games played] requirements [for All-Defensive voting]. There is not some amount that you have to play in,” he said. “If there was an amount that you had to play, then I would be an idiot sitting here and saying that.”
The NBA’s All-Defensive first team was headlined by Boston’s Marcus Smart, who was named Defensive Player of the Year. Smart was joined by Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges, Utah’s Rudy Gobert, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr.
Green was bullish in his belief that he was deserving of one of those spots.
“What you had to see, I think it would be hard for someone to come and show me better [defense this season],” he said. “Especially not five guys [better]. It is more of a slight to me than anything.”
The Warriors and Celtics will face off in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. The series will be a battle of two of the best defensive teams in the league this season, so Green will surely have the chance to make his presence felt.