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Triple-double run illustrates Green's unique star quality

Golden State's versatile power forward is proving night after night that he might just be the best at his position in the NBA

POSTED: Jan 7, 2016 4:37 PM ET

By Kevin Cottrell Jr.

Special to NBA.com

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This season, Draymond Green ranks in the Top 15 in both rebounding and assists.

In his 1992 song "It Was A Good Day", rapper Ice Cube described a good day as one in which he "messed around and got a triple-double." By those standards, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green tipped off 2016 with the best week ever.

Green, the most recent Western Conference Player of the Week winner, led the Warriors to a 3-1 mark while averaging 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 2.5 steals. Like Ice Cube, Green messed around and got a triple-double ... in back-to-back games no less. After receiving the honor on Monday, he celebrated by posting a third consecutive triple-double in a win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Draymond Green Notches Triple-Double vs. Hornets

Draymond Green records his third straight triple-double with 13 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.

Of the 22 triple-doubles in 2015-16, Green has amassed seven of them. As a result, he surpassed both Kevin Garnett and Charles Barkley with the most triple-doubles by a power forward in a season.

Most Triple-Doubles In A Season By A Power Forward
Player (Team) Season Number of triple-doubles
Draymond Green (Warriors) 2015-16 7
Kevin Garnett (Wolves) 2002-03 6
Charles Barkley (Suns) 1992-93 6

To say Green is playing at a high level would be an understatement. His career-highs in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage have propelled him into an elite category. Green not only leads the Warriors in rebounds (9.5 per game) and assists (7.4), but ranks 12th and sixth in those categories, respectively, in the entire NBA. And he's the only non-guard to rank in the top 15 in assists per game.

His versatility puts him in a category with a select few players while allowing his All-Star teammates of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to flourish. It's safe to say that Green has become the Warriors' most irreplaceable player not named Curry. He studies all five positions on the floor, at times runs the offense and often defends the opposing center. All that helped him earn the nickname "DrayMagic" from a certain Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame point guard-turned-NBA TV analyst.

Draymond Green's Triple Double vs. Nuggets

Draymond Green had a tremendous game as he scores 29 points, grabs 17 rebounds and hands out 17 assists in an overtime victory over the Nuggets.

"He's the most unique power forward playing in the game today," said Isiah Thomas. "While I would say he's DrayMagic, yeah the triple-doubles are there but the energy he brings to the game every night at that position, rebounding, pushing it up and then his personality. He brings the toughness, he brings the confidence, he brings the laughter, he brings the joy. He's bringing all that every night."

Green has more in common with Magic Johnson than both being alums of Michigan State. In his college days, Green joined Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only players in NCAA history to record two triple-doubles in NCAA Tournament play. Yet despite being named First Team All-American, many questioned his size and talent level which attributed to him falling to the second round of the 2012 Draft, going 35th overall to Golden State.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr once described Green as the "heartbeat of the Golden State Warriors", a path fellow ex-Spartan Steve Smith believes Green has been on for quite some time.

"I've noticed his versatility since high school." Smith said. "He rebounded, defended, played point, he did that at Michigan State also and it was well documented. He flirted with triple-doubles his whole career."

Draymond Green's Triple-Double vs. Rockets

Draymond Green notches a triple-double scoring 10 points with 11 rebounds and 16 assists versus Houston.

Some argue that Green would not be as impactful on another roster, but that's the beauty of his game. Green's ability to handle the ball allows two of the league's most lethal shooters to roam free around the perimeter. When shots go up, his competitiveness pushes him to crash the boards. On defense, he's been matched up with everyone from Anthony Davis to LeBron James and held his ground, making him one of the game's best on-ball defenders.

Whether you view Green as an undersized power forward or a super-versatile small forward, he's simply excelling in his role. And, over the last 32 seasons, he's one of four forwards to record three consecutive triple-doubles.

Forwards To Record Triple-Doubles, 3 Straight Games
The last four times in which a forward has registered a triple-double in the NBA.
Player (Team) Year
Draymond Green (Warriors) * 2016
LeBron James (Heat) 2009
Grant Hill (Pistons) 1997
Larry Bird (Celtics) 1984
* = averaged 17.3 ppg, 14.3 rpg, 13.3 apg during that span

In and of itself, a triple-double is just a stat. It's a collection of numbers and proof of a player having a good day. But when you string these games together to the point of expectance, it makes you consider Green as the best power forward in basketball.

"I would say he's playing the best [among power forwards]," Smith said. "When you talk about playing plus results, wins and losses, he is. There might be some guys with better numbers but when you start adding numbers, wins and most important he's won a championship already. He's probably the best power forward in the game right now."

On Jan. 21, the starters for All-Star 2016 in Toronto will be announced. The Western Conference frontcourt will likely include Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant and Los Angeles Lakers star (and icon) Kobe Bryant. That leaves the third frontcourt spot up for grabs. Who will it be? Blake Griffin? Davis? Or perhaps Green?

If the fans want high-flying dunks, expect to see Griffin. If they want a glimpse into the future, give it to Davis. But if this is all based on impact and rewarding winners, then Green should hold onto that third frontcourt spot (which he has based on the second All-Star balloting returns).

Ice Cube's favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers, put an end to Green's triple-double streak and his best week ever. However, the Warriors won the game, improving to 33-2, marking the best record through 35 games in NBA history.

Green entered the season with three individual goals: becoming an All-Star, being named Kia Defensive Player of the Year and earning a spot on the U.S. Men's National Team. With nearly half of the season underway, Green appears to be headed in the right direction.

In a couple of weeks he will learn his All-Star fate. Based on how he's played so far, one can only imagine just how good that day will be for him.