Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs?

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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#21 » by McBubbles » Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:17 am

Leslie Forman wrote:
drza wrote:I personally think the notion of "Rim protection is THE most important aspect of defense" is outdated, if it was ever true.

You'd think it would've been thrown out the window in the '90s when the Bulls defense was shutting everyone down built around some wings, a non shot-blocking PF, and random trash found at the local Y manning the center spot, but no.


I'm pretty sure the best version of the Bulls defensively (1996) DRTG relative to league average ranks them 27th all time. Although you can only face the competition in front of you so I guess penalising a #1 defence for not stacking up to other teams historically is unfair.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#22 » by GYK » Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:40 am

You can’t guard everyone switching and teams can certainly avoid you with an off ball switch and attacking bother position. It doesn’t work well without being connected to other switchable players. It’s also not his greatest defensive contribution it’s just something people grasped onto with a highlight reel. He’s a help defender. His weak side is what’s important.
Also the +/- should be held off or at least just adjusted as his age regression hasn’t happened being compared to completed old men careers.
There’s nothing more important than rim protection. Deterring paint drives/touches comes next. Switching is just man defense and not even great man defense, it’s just to stop the momentum from handoffs and PnR drives.

Dray is a great help defender. Compared to rim protectors of the caliber mentioned he’s clearly the worst defender here.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#23 » by No-more-rings » Thu Mar 25, 2021 3:08 pm

He's historically great but i still see him as a tier below the KG's, Duncan's, Hakeem's etc. I'm not really sure he was better than Dwight/Alonzo either.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#24 » by feyki » Thu Mar 25, 2021 3:53 pm

Texas Chuck wrote:I think he's every bit as good as Kevin Garnett. I mean if we are citing +/- stats to make KG's case and we absolutely always do, the fact that Draymond has arguably the best numbers ever in a much more offensive era suggests he takes no backseat. And both are far more similar to each other than they are to traditional centers.

So wherever you slot KG in terms of best peak years, Draymond belongs. Obviously KG kills him on longevity.


The year of 2004 seperates him from Draymond, to me. He had the elite rim protection that year, rather than rest of his career(it's not mean he was not elite with the rim protection, it's just compared to ATG's like Mutombo,KAJ etc..).
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#25 » by lebron3-14-3 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:18 pm

eminence wrote:I'd have my prime tiers roughly like this:

Tier 1 - Bill Russell

Tier 2 - Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan

Tier 3 - George Mikan, Bill Walton, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace, Draymond Green

Tier 4 - Wilt Chamberlain, Nate Thurmond, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mark Eaton, Alonzo Mourning, Dwight Howard, Rudy Gobert

Tier 5 - Wes Unseld, Bobby Jones, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby, Metta World Peace, Tyson Chandler, Andrei Kirilenko, LeBron James, Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo (almost certainly missing a couple guys from this tier, but you get the point)

Edit: Actually, thought about it some more, and I think he'd be towards the middle of that tier. I'll go with 7th overall.


Would you add a couple of tiers to this list? I'd like to see who you have next
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#26 » by eminence » Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:29 pm

lebron3-14-3 wrote:
eminence wrote:I'd have my prime tiers roughly like this:

Tier 1 - Bill Russell

Tier 2 - Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan

Tier 3 - George Mikan, Bill Walton, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace, Draymond Green

Tier 4 - Wilt Chamberlain, Nate Thurmond, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mark Eaton, Alonzo Mourning, Dwight Howard, Rudy Gobert

Tier 5 - Wes Unseld, Bobby Jones, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby, Metta World Peace, Tyson Chandler, Andrei Kirilenko, LeBron James, Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo (almost certainly missing a couple guys from this tier, but you get the point)

Edit: Actually, thought about it some more, and I think he'd be towards the middle of that tier. I'll go with 7th overall.


Would you add a couple of tiers to this list? I'd like to see who you have next


If there's anybody in particular you're curious on I might be able to estimate.

Tier 6 would be where we'd get a lot of the great defensive guards - Kidd, MJ, Moncrief, etc. Debated Tony Allen down there. The good/not great forwards - Marion/Schayes/Deng types. Bigs at that point are probably not noted as particularly great defenders, but just good, the Capela's of the world, probably too many to list.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#27 » by Jaivl » Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:33 pm

eminence wrote:
lebron3-14-3 wrote:
eminence wrote:I'd have my prime tiers roughly like this:

Tier 1 - Bill Russell

Tier 2 - Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan

Tier 3 - George Mikan, Bill Walton, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace, Draymond Green

Tier 4 - Wilt Chamberlain, Nate Thurmond, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mark Eaton, Alonzo Mourning, Dwight Howard, Rudy Gobert

Tier 5 - Wes Unseld, Bobby Jones, Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby, Metta World Peace, Tyson Chandler, Andrei Kirilenko, LeBron James, Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo (almost certainly missing a couple guys from this tier, but you get the point)

Edit: Actually, thought about it some more, and I think he'd be towards the middle of that tier. I'll go with 7th overall.


Would you add a couple of tiers to this list? I'd like to see who you have next


If there's anybody in particular you're curious on I might be able to estimate.

Tier 6 would be where we'd get a lot of the great defensive guards - Kidd, MJ, Moncrief, etc. Debated Tony Allen down there. The good/not great forwards - Marion/Schayes/Deng types. Bigs at that point are probably not noted as particularly great defenders, but just good, the Capela's of the world, probably too many to list.

Simmons, Dave Cowens, peak Ibaka, Karl Malone, Trae Young
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ShawnKemp96 wrote:Infact he made a lot more steals than the statisticians think.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#28 » by Outside » Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:04 pm

Jaivl wrote:
eminence wrote:
lebron3-14-3 wrote:
Would you add a couple of tiers to this list? I'd like to see who you have next


If there's anybody in particular you're curious on I might be able to estimate.

Tier 6 would be where we'd get a lot of the great defensive guards - Kidd, MJ, Moncrief, etc. Debated Tony Allen down there. The good/not great forwards - Marion/Schayes/Deng types. Bigs at that point are probably not noted as particularly great defenders, but just good, the Capela's of the world, probably too many to list.

Simmons, Dave Cowens, peak Ibaka, Karl Malone, Trae Young


Wait... what?
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#29 » by Jaivl » Thu Mar 25, 2021 8:35 pm

Outside wrote:
Jaivl wrote:
eminence wrote:
If there's anybody in particular you're curious on I might be able to estimate.

Tier 6 would be where we'd get a lot of the great defensive guards - Kidd, MJ, Moncrief, etc. Debated Tony Allen down there. The good/not great forwards - Marion/Schayes/Deng types. Bigs at that point are probably not noted as particularly great defenders, but just good, the Capela's of the world, probably too many to list.

Simmons, Dave Cowens, peak Ibaka, Karl Malone, Trae Young


Wait... what?

Oh I'm genuinely curious on what tier he would be in. Tier 15? Tier 21?
Maf wrote:I'd undestand if anyone had KG outside top ten PF's. Having him top five all-time? Often I jokingly rank Kyle Korver as the GOAT but I never try to fake serious discussion about it.

ShawnKemp96 wrote:Infact he made a lot more steals than the statisticians think.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#30 » by Outside » Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:06 pm

Jaivl wrote:
Outside wrote:
Jaivl wrote:Simmons, Dave Cowens, peak Ibaka, Karl Malone, Trae Young


Wait... what?

Oh I'm genuinely curious on what tier he would be in. Tier 15? Tier 21?


At some point, I'd start giving tiers descriptive names, like the Matador or Traffic Cone Tier. Or equivalents from other scales -- Bill Russell is the Diamond Tier, and Trae Young is the Talc Tier.

As for Draymond, I think he'd be excellent defensively in any era but is optimal for this one. That's fitting since he helped define it. People acknowledge that the Warriors changed the game by weaponizing three-point shooting to a championship level and give Steph credit for extending the range that a defense has to cover to well beyond the three-point line, but an underappreciated aspect of the evolution they helped inspire was on the defensive end. Prior to the Warriors championship in 2015, teams employed a variety of schemes to avoid switches on screens, but the Warriors consciously built a lineup with players who were 6-6 to 6-8 with long wingspans who could switch anything. Draymond being able to play the 5 defensively was key to that success. Their "death squad" crushed opponents, not just offensively, but also defensively.

Being a copycat league, everyone shoots the three even more than the Warriors used to -- the Warriors attempted 27.0 threes per game in 2015, and the Cavs are 30th in 3PA this season at 27.6. But teams have also copied the Warriors' switching defensive style, using it far more often than prior to 2015.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#31 » by cpower » Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:42 am

in this era? he is as good as anyone ever played. in another era? yeah he is not top 10.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#32 » by LukaTheGOAT » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:29 pm

yoyoboy wrote:
Texas Chuck wrote:I think he's every bit as good as Kevin Garnett. I mean if we are citing +/- stats to make KG's case and we absolutely always do, the fact that Draymond has arguably the best numbers ever in a much more offensive era suggests he takes no backseat. And both are far more similar to each other than they are to traditional centers.

So wherever you slot KG in terms of best peak years, Draymond belongs. Obviously KG kills him on longevity.

Yeah I'm also confused by this. What exactly would be KG's argument to be a tier or two ahead of Draymond if we're talking peaks?


I think depending on the plus-minus metrics you use, one comes out ahead of the others, but honestly from just watching them, KG is probably a better post defender due to inherent size and length, and that also makes him a better rim-protector. That's mainly it. As someone said here, KG basically has all of Draymond's strengths, while also being better at Draymond's weaknesses.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#33 » by LukaTheGOAT » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:33 pm

I feel strongly that Draymond is a top 10-15 defensive big ever relative to era. I don't think should be a hot take even. You can be disgusted with how his offense looks now, but defensive Golden State is still very good RIGHT NOW, despite being a shell of what it once was.

Dray also is probably a bit underrated here as a man guy. He did a super good job guarding Anthony Davis, and forced him into his worse PS series as a pro when they played in 2018. That type of big who is long, athletic, and is a GOAT level finisher is the type of guy you think might give Draymond trouble, yet he did a valiant job.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#34 » by Warriors Analyst » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:34 pm

LukaTheGOAT wrote:I feel strongly that Draymond is a top 10-15 defensive big ever relative to era. I don't think should be a hot take even. You can be disgusted with how his offense looks now, but defensive Golden State is still very good RIGHT NOW, despite being a shell of what it once was.

Dray also is probably a bit underrated here as a man guy. He did a super good job guarding Anthony Davis, and forced him into his worse PS series as a pro when they played in 2018. That type of big who is long, athletic, and is a GOAT level finisher is the type of guy you think might give Draymond trouble, yet he did a valiant job.


Draymond has shaved % off of AD twice now in 2015 and 2018. I remember when he really burst onto the scene as a top level defender was guarding Blake in the 2013 playoffs. For all the concerns about Draymond's size, he's always held up pretty well against freak athlete bigs in the playoffs. Embiid I suspect would be the one guy who'd totally swallow Draymond and spit him out, but we've never had an opportunity to see that in 7 games.

A few other stray thoughts I have about Dray: when we consider how he'd hold up in earlier eras, we have to consider that he'd have the benefit of getting to handcheck out on the perimeter. He probably plays down a position at the 3 because of how the game is played back then, but with the added physicality, I think he'd hold up fine.

In 2016-17, Dray ranked 5th in DFG% defending shots inside of 6 feet at 48.8%. The only guys who ranked above him are Embiid (in 33 games), Aldridge, Gobert, and Hibbert. Draymond defended 6.1 FGA per game in that range, Embiid 6.4, and Gobert 8.0. Hibbert at that point was a bit player and Aldridge was only defending 4.2 FGA per game in that range. This is all to say, there's a fair argument to be made that Draymond was one of the 3 best rim protectors in the game that year. Pretty remarkable stuff.

There is, of course, the valid argument to be made that the KD Warriors were so stacked that Draymond got focus most of his efforts on D. I'm open to that argument. His DFG% numbers from less than 6 feet peaked in 2016-17. They weren't as good in 14-15/15-16 when he had a bigger role in creating his own shots, and they've declined since 16-17, which makes some amount of sense as he's focused on preserving himself for the playoffs.

Quickly looking through his playoff numbers, it's bonkers. In 15-16, he only gave up 44.7% from less than 6 feet on 8.7 attempts. Nobody comes close to reaching that volume AND that level of paint protection. LeBron, DeAndre Jordan, Horford, and Myles Turner rate better than Draymond in DFG%, but on less volume. In 16-17, he gives up 48.7% from less than 6 feet on 6.7 attempts. The only ones better who played more than one round are LeBron (46.4% on 4.7 attempts) and Ibaka (46.4% on 5.6 attempts). His numbers decline in 17-18 to 54.4% on 7.5 attempts, but when you filter for high volume and guys who played more than a round, the only ones better are Embiid, Favors, Gobert, and Anthony Davis. I was surprised that he rates better in 2018-19 than 17-18, 50.0% on 5.9 attempts. Filtering for > 1 round and high volume, Embiid, Zach Collins, Brook Lopez, Giannis, and Baynes are the only ones better.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#35 » by lebron3-14-3 » Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:23 pm

I don't know why but I love this thread
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#36 » by HeartBreakKid » Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:26 pm

Texas Chuck wrote:I think he's every bit as good as Kevin Garnett. I mean if we are citing +/- stats to make KG's case and we absolutely always do, the fact that Draymond has arguably the best numbers ever in a much more offensive era suggests he takes no backseat. And both are far more similar to each other than they are to traditional centers.

So wherever you slot KG in terms of best peak years, Draymond belongs. Obviously KG kills him on longevity.


There are certainly things Garnett has in his favor other than +/-. Also, if you're conceding to +/- stats, does this mean you think KG and Green should be the goat defenders or behind Russell?
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#37 » by Texas Chuck » Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:34 pm

HeartBreakKid wrote:
Texas Chuck wrote:I think he's every bit as good as Kevin Garnett. I mean if we are citing +/- stats to make KG's case and we absolutely always do, the fact that Draymond has arguably the best numbers ever in a much more offensive era suggests he takes no backseat. And both are far more similar to each other than they are to traditional centers.

So wherever you slot KG in terms of best peak years, Draymond belongs. Obviously KG kills him on longevity.


There are certainly things Garnett has in his favor other than +/-. Also, if you're conceding to +/- stats, does this mean you think KG and Green should be the goat defenders or behind Russell?


I think they are both among the best defenders of all-time, but no still behind Duncan and Robinson for sure and probably Deke and maybe a couple of others. But no shame in that and it takes absolutely nothing away from how elite these two players are.

And I'm not fully conceding to +/- stats fwiw. As always they are a usual tool as part of our analysis but should never be all of it. Draymond's case obviously goes well beyond just those numbers, just like KG's does.

But I believe Draymond is a special, special defensive player.
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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#38 » by Max123 » Wed Sep 15, 2021 4:14 pm

Glad to see this thread somewhat revived. I have a question:

What’s stopping Draymond from reaching the all time pantheon of defenders (excluding Russell as an anomaly) among the likes of Hakeem, Robinson, Garnett, Duncan and others? Don’t his defensive numbers (on/off and adjusted plusminus data) support this conclusion both in terms or regular season and postseason?

I get that he doesn’t really play like the other defensive atg’s (he is closest to Garnett in style) in the sense that he isn’t a rim protector to the same extent that they are. Yet, from what I’ve seen anyways, he seems GOAT/alltime-level in basically all of the other defensive subskills and he looks amazing on film overall.

Is there more against Draymond other than that he isn’t an atg rim protector in the traditional sense of getting blocks? If so I am personally willing to consider him among the very best defensive players of all time: closer to top 5 all time than the top 10/15 where he is usually assigned to.

This is me talking about his defensive peak/prime with not too much consideration for length of either. Would love to hear answers to this.


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Re: Peak Draymond vs The ATG Defensive Bigs? 

Post#39 » by Outside » Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:33 pm

Max123 wrote:Glad to see this thread somewhat revived. I have a question:

What’s stopping Draymond from reaching the all time pantheon of defenders (excluding Russell as an anomaly) among the likes of Hakeem, Robinson, Garnett, Duncan and others? Don’t his defensive numbers (on/off and adjusted plusminus data) support this conclusion both in terms or regular season and postseason?

I get that he doesn’t really play like the other defensive atg’s (he is closest to Garnett in style) in the sense that he isn’t a rim protector to the same extent that they are. Yet, from what I’ve seen anyways, he seems GOAT/alltime-level in basically all of the other defensive subskills and he looks amazing on film overall.

Is there more against Draymond other than that he isn’t an atg rim protector in the traditional sense of getting blocks? If so I am personally willing to consider him among the very best defensive players of all time: closer to top 5 all time than the top 10/15 where he is usually assigned to.

This is me talking about his defensive peak/prime with not too much consideration for length of either. Would love to hear answers to this.


I'll attempt to answer coming from the point of view of someone who considers Draymond a great defensive player.

There are several things that come to mind when assessing Draymond vs ATG defensive bigs.

-- Rebounding. There are several ways to end a successful defensive possession -- steals, offensive fouls, other turnovers, blocks, and rebounds -- but defensive rebounding is essential. The Warriors in the Kerr era have been a generally good rebounding team, but they do it by gang rebounding rather than relying on one or two guys. Draymond's best season was 9.5 RPG, 7.8 DRPG, and 23.0 DRB%. Draymond is a very good rebounder, but the ATG bigs are significantly better.

-- Rim protection is definitely part of it, and it's more than blocks. Most of the ATG big defenders mentioned were good at blocking shots but also impactful at deterring the opponent from even attempting shots in the paint. Draymond doesn't strike fear in the opponent's heart at the rim.

-- Defending the best bigs, particularly big, strong bigs. Draymond does an excellent job at this, especially for someone his height, but he can be overpowered at the rim. With the death lineups, they made opponent bigs unplayable because Draymond could defend them well enough on the defensive end and would clown them on the offensive end. Opponent bigs are mobile enough and don't like to defend in space, so Draymond setting a pick for Steph would mean the big hanging back and Steph getting an open three. Draymond is good enough at the defensive end to prevent opponent bigs from punishing the Warriors, so opponents sub out their big to get someone who can defend in space and play the PnR. But that's for relatively few minutes per game, and during the bulk of minutes, Draymond is going to do a good job against opponent bigs, but not like ATG defensive bigs can.

Draymond does have advantages over most ATG defensive bigs:

-- He defends much better in space and can guard smaller players better.

-- Draymond is spectacularly great at the current style of defensive play that uses switching and rotations, both in what he does as part of that defense and in being the quarterback of the defense. Many of the ATG defensive bigs mentioned played in prior eras where centers were tasked with sticking with the opponent center, helping with rim protection, and rebounding, which is the classic defensive anchor center. Draymond would be a great defender in those eras, but his impact is maximized in the current style of play.

A question in ranking him compared to other ATG defensive bigs is how you factor in portability across eras vs impact in the era a player played in. You can say that Draymond wouldn't be as impactful in prior eras, but I think it's fair to say defensive bigs like Mutombo would be less effective in the current era. Really mobile guys like Hakeem and Robinson would be great in either era. Russell would dominate just as much in this era, and maybe even more, as hard as that is to fathom.

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