Draymond Green has constantly called himself the greatest defender of all time. He boasts huge confidence in his defensive skills, earning a lot of bad comments for his remarks.
The Golden State Warriors star isn't shy when making a case for himself. He knows he's capable of guarding all the positions on the court, even going against bigger players than him.
However, Green recently claimed that he would have had a hard time going against legendary centers like Shaquille O'Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon. In different ways, O'Neal and Olajuwon dominated the NBA in the 90s and 2000s, showing the importance of centers in the game at that time.
During a Q&A session with Steve Aschburner of NBA.com, Green said he could have found a way to guard these guys at a decent level. Nevertheless, stopping The Dream or The Big Diesel during their prime is something unthinkable for Dray.
You mention how NBA play has changed, going more to the outside in recent years partly due to the team for which you play. It makes me wonder if you would be as successful as a defender say 25 years ago compared to now.
I like to think I would be, just for the fact that I guard the post, I guard the ball. I like to think I’d have found a way. But having said that, I’m not sure I would have been able to guard Shaquille O’Neal. I’m not sure I would have been able to guard Hakeem Olajuwon. I’m not crazy enough to begin to say, “Yeah, I could have stopped Shaq.” But if I couldn’t, I guess I fit into a category with a bunch of other people.
It's very curious since the championship Warriors are often pitted against the three-peat Lakers in hypothetical matchups, and fans don't see Draymond winning against Shaquille O'Neal. After Draymond's remarks, we know he would have had a difficult task in his hands if the Dubs ever clashed with the Shaq and Kobe Lakers of the early 2000s.
Still, Green is a very good defender who is making noise for the Defensive Player of the Year award this season. The veteran is helping the Warriors climb to the top of the Western Conference, which could earn him another DPOY at the end of the regular season. He's really great for today's league's standards, but 25 years ago, Green would have been in a big predicament against O'Neal and Olajuwon.