Draymond Green is healthy, starting at power forward recently in David Lee's absence, and Green is playing very, very well -- setting great screens, moving the ball, playing exceptional on-ball and help defense.
Which brings up the question: Is Green the Warriors' best option at power forward going into the playoffs, whether Lee is fully healthy or not by then?
At the very least, I think Green is proving that he deserves (and has deserved) at least as many minutes as a healthy Lee in a tandem power forward rotation and Green absolutely deserves the main power forward minutes if Lee is at all dinged up and not 100 percent.
But we also know that the Warriors have based much of their last several seasons on the quite questionable conclusion that Lee is an incredible ALL-STAR!!! player -- it took Mark Jackson months into this season to admit that Stephen Curry had jumped ahead of Lee as the team's best player, which was about two or three years behind actuality.
Lee has been a big part of the Warriors' rise to relevance, he can do a lot of things on offense, and he is the Warriors' favorite son -- that's absolutely one thing Joe Lacob and Jackson have agreed upon from Day 1. He's protected, he's cherished, his status is unchallenged. However . . .
Now that Lee is out indefinitely and the Warriors are finally getting a look at Green in a major role -- and alongside Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala in the starting lineup (when those two guys are healthy) . . .
Well, things might be changing, because in real life you make adjustments when things happen in front of your eyes.
You can't make playoff decisions based on how much you like a guy or the things he did in the past. You make them based on what will work best in a rough postseason series or two.
Green can guard good power forwards, he can guard good wings, Jackson even likes playing Green on very good point guards.
That's different than what Lee gives the Warriors. Just a little.
By the way, Sunday night I asked Bogut about the Bogut/Iguodala/Draymond front line, which has been rarely used this season until Sunday night, when that was the starting group.
"Oh yeah, that's our killer lineup," Bogut said with a big smile.
To be ultra-clear, this was part of a general discussion about defense and Bogut meant "killer lineup" in that context -- as in killer defensive unit.
Which it is. Beyond doubt. And with Curry and Thompson criss-crossing through the wing areas and getting great screens, and with Green's ability to challenge defenses with his passes and dives to the hoop . . . that is a very intriguing offensive lineup, too.
Some questions there, but still intriguing on offense and great on defense.
And that grouping doesn't include Lee, who is not a great defensive player or even a good one, especially on the rotations in the paint or out to the 3-point line. Plus, Lee isn't as great offensively as many of his fans seem to think.
He works very well with Curry in the pick-and-roll and can score sometimes on the post, but when his mid-range jumper isn't there (and it hasn't been there most of this season), he's frequently a drag on the Warriors' Curry/Thompson offensive exploits.
(I know, uh oh, here we go again.)
Yep, it's impossible to deny that any period of game-time that includes Bogut, Green and Iguodala banging into opponents and making great rotations and defending the rim . . . well, that's going to be a very good defensive unit for the Warriors.
But even after starting Sunday night and playing many minutes together, the Bogut/Green/Iguodala trio is one of the least played of all the Warriors' main-rotation combinations.
As Grantland's Zach Lowe points out, this specific starting lineup -- those three plus Curry and Thompson -- has only played 54 minutes together and is a sterling +22 as a unit in the plus/minus.
They need to play more together. They will play more, if Lee stays out for a while longer or even if he is back immediately. If that severely cuts into Lee's playing time in the minutes, really, that's not a huge issue.
And then if Green isn't producing, the Warriors can always go back to Lee playing 35 minutes a game.
But there's an easy compromise: When Lee is healthy, put him back into the starting lineup, but have Green ready to come in quickly -- maybe after three or four minutes if things start off poorly for the Warriors, at the latest at the under-6-minute timeout.
That will make sure Green gets good minutes with Bogut and Iguodala early, and that can freshen Lee up to play long minutes as a post-distributor for the second unit late in the first and into the second quarter.
Then you stick with whatever works into the second half and especially to close out the game -- Green, Lee, Jermaine O'Neal, whoever.
One of the most amazing things about Bogut's D-rating is that he has done it playing so much with Lee, which I think Jackson does intentionally to make sure Bogut is always there to defend the toughest post player and that frees Lee to just score, pass and rebound and stand next to DeAndre Jordan instead of actually guarding anybody.
An under-discussed thing is Bogut's ability, for a large center, to defend some of the really good power forwards, which is often necessary when Lee is out there with him.
But if you play Bogut with Green for long stretches, which allows Bogut to be a little more free lance on defense when Green is tying up a good power forward . . . lights out, I'd presume.
The Warriors are 8-3 when Lee has been out.
They are 4-3 when Lee and Bogut were both out.
They are 4-0 without Lee but with Bogut in the lineup. (One of these is the Memphis game when Bogut started but left after only four minutes and didn't return.)
The Warriors are 8-4 in games that Bogut has missed.
In last season's playoffs, the Warriors were 6-2 in games Lee did not play.
They were 2-4 in games he did play.
In playoff games he played five minutes or more, the Warriors were 1-3.