Draymond Green is an annual candidate for Defensive Player of the Year because the guy knows how to slow down the best players in the game — especially in the last minutes.
"It's the most predictable time of the game," Green told Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher. "You know who a team wants to go to, and you know that guy is trying to go score. During the course of the game, a player is looking to pass, screen, he's diving and rolling or slipping the screen, but at the end of the game he's trying to score, that's it. He's got to go score or the game is over."
Green revealed some of his secrets of stopping players including specific stuff he does against the biggest stars: Russell Westbrook, James Harden and LeBron James. (And no, the crotch shot isn't one of them.)
Kelley L CoxKelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
"I see Russ a lot. The way I like to defend Russell is sometimes I like to sit back and make him shoot jump shots and sometimes activate and force him to go to the rim.
"As crazy as that sounds — most people would say, 'Why would you send Russell to the rim, that's what he wants to do?' [And it's true] the best thing about Russell's game is not his jump shot. If you're going to pick any shot for Russell Westbrook to take, it's his jump shot.
"That being said, when you think that way, the tendency is to sit back. But when you sit back, you allow him to get comfortable and then he just picks you apart. I'm a firm believer you definitely mix that in and use sitting back to your advantage, but you've got to activate and pressure sometimes to keep [him] off balance and not let him get in his comfort zone.
"He has a hop into that pull-up jump shot; he takes these tiny steps and then a hop. You can definitely read it a little bit. That being said, it's still tough to stop. But you can get a jump on it."
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"No. 1, take his space away. There are certain guys in the league that get their rhythm off their dribble. He's one of those guys. The more you just let him dribble, dribble, dribble, the more into his rhythm he gets. The more rhythm he gets…look, the chances of you stopping a player like that is already slim.
"Once you let him dance, dance, dance and get that rhythm, that slim chance is cut in half. At that point it's just a matter of whether he misses the shot or not. So crowd his space, but don't use your hands. That's why I have my hands way out [to my side] because he's tricky.
"If you put your hand in there just a little bit, James has got you. One, he's mastered getting the foul, and two, he gets the benefit of the doubt, so if it looks like it's a foul, it's going to be a foul. It's just like anything else in this league: When you develop a certain reputation for something, you're going to get the benefit of the doubt, good or bad." (Do tell, Draymond!)
"With LeBron, obviously it's different because he does so much. It's about mixing it up. You can't always pick LeBron up and pressure him, but you can't always sit back. You've got to do both.
"So with him, as a defender, one possession you're playing him one way, the next possession you're playing him a completely different way, and you just try to keep him off-balance as much as you can. Give him a steady diet of one thing, he'll pick that (expletive) apart. He's one of the smartest players to ever play the game."
It's good that Green didn't give away much about guarding LeBron, and that he threw in a compliment. He probably knows he'll need every edge once again in June, and it never hurts to lull your opponent into a false sense of security.