NBA Heat Check: LeBron vs. Draymond, Part 1

John Scriffiny

LeBron vs. Draymond: What, as recently as a season ago, seemed like there was no comparison between these two players, now is actually up for discussion: Who is better, LeBron James or Draymond Green?

If someone asked me at the beginning of last season — who would you rather have, LeBron James or Draymond Green? — I would’ve just started laughing in their face.

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(Image courtesy of Kieth Allison on Flickr.)
(Image courtesy of Kieth Allison on Flickr.)

Like, a bench player who is a defensive specialist who can pass, or LeBron freakin’ James, possibly the most versatile player in the NBA, if not ever? But today, the discussion is a heck of a lot closer. I still give LeBron the edge, but I’ll give you the case for both, and compare each in a number of categories.

Scoring

This is where LeBron James has Draymond Green beat. James’s post-game is superior to Green’s, as he showed in the finals last year. The whole Warriors defense knew LeBron was coming, yet he still managed to score about 30 points per game. He is also averaging 27.2 points per game this year, so the stats help his case. The eye test also helps when you see how he can always create a mid-range jumper and is great at getting to the line, especially late in the game. 

However, Green has a case. Sure, he fits best as a great passer that helps the offense flow as well as a spot-up shooter. But, in his defense of why his stats are worse in terms of points per game, it might be because he plays with a player that is having the most efficient scoring season ever. If he was the man on a team, where he took the majority of the scoring load, I don’t know if he would come close to LeBron’s points per game. Odds are, he won’t. But, playing with Curry, it’s at least a reason as to why that is the case.

Defense

This is where there is a bit of a wash between LeBron and Draymond in terms of skill level. During the regular season, Draymond is much better. But there a number of reasons as to why this is.

LeBron is in his 13th season and has made the playoffs in the majority of them. The dude has a lot of miles on him, and shouldn’t waste what fuel he has left in the tank on meaningless regular-season games. The Cavaliers are going to make the playoffs, so LeBron can save his energy and shouldn’t be hated on for it. But, for the purposes of this comparison, it is a cause of why he is worse on defense than Draymond than the rest of the season. Come playoff time, they are about the same, but I still give Draymond the edge because he has less of a load to carry on offense thanks to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.

Playmaking

As I previously wrote, Draymond is a really good passer. He excels at making the extra pass, passing on the fast break, and tossing alley-oops to Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli. 

Collegian NBA Blogger John Scriffiny can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @JScriff.