War­riors’ Dray­mond Green is adding scor­ing to his skill set.

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - NEWS - By Con­nor Le­tourneau

Around 1 or 2 a.m. many days, War­riors for­ward Dray­mond Green’s iPhone lights up with a se­ries of texts from his close friend and per­sonal trainer, Travis Wal­ton.

The mes­sages con­tain de­tailed feedback on how Green shot in the pre­vi­ous game. Some­times to ham­mer home his point, Wal­ton in­cludes video of the jumpers or floaters in ques­tion.

“That’s how we have al­ways done it,” said Wal­ton, who has worked closely with Green, his for­mer team­mate at Michi­gan State, since the sum­mer of 2013. “Lately, I’ve been say­ing

good things.”

Long known for his de­fense, pass­ing and emo­tional lead­er­ship, Green is, at best, Golden State’s fourth of­fen­sive op­tion. Op­pos­ing de­fenses are so con­cerned with lim­it­ing Kevin Du­rant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thomp­son that Green of­ten has plenty of room to op­er­ate.

For the first time in fran­chise his­tory, Golden State has won seven games in a row by at least 10 points. And with Green av­er­ag­ing 14.6 points on 63.8 per­cent shoot­ing over Golden State’s seven-game streak, teams have faced a dif­fi­cult ques­tion:

Do they give Green more at­ten­tion at the risk of leav­ing the War­riors’ other All-Stars open?

“He’s just such a ver­sa­tile player,” Thomp­son said. “He’s the one who re­ally un­locks our of­fense be­cause he’s like a point for­ward out there.”

Af­ter not scor­ing in dou­ble dig­its in five of his first seven games this sea­son, Green has recorded at least 10 points in six of his past seven. It is a case study in ef­fi­ciency. Us­ing a mix of floaters, dunks, layups and wide-open jumpers, Green has at­tempted no more than 11 shots dur­ing the win streak.

With Curry side­lined by a right thigh con­tu­sion for Mon­day’s vic­tory over Or­lando, Green poured in a sea­son-high 20 points on 8-for-11 shoot­ing. It’s the re­sult of a dili­gent, shoot­ing-fo­cused rou­tine. Though many play­ers would be con­tent as one of the league’s pre­mier de­fend­ers and fa­cil­i­ta­tors, Green stays af­ter prac­tice to per­fect his shot and slogs through a rig­or­ous reg­i­men with Wal­ton each sum­mer.

“I put a lot of work in,” Green said, “so I ex­pected the re­sults to show even­tu­ally.”

Four years ago, af­ter shoot­ing 32.7 per­cent from the field as a rookie, Green phoned Wal­ton for as­sis­tance. Wal­ton flew to Oak­land and, for three months, shep­herded his long­time buddy through a work­out aimed at fill­ing the holes in Green’s game.

That sum­mer gant­let be­came an an­nual tra­di­tion, with Wal­ton spend­ing off­sea­sons in a spare room of Green’s Bay Area home. The ar­range­ment was a driv­ing force be­hind Green’s rise from sel­dom-used re­serve to in­dis­pens­able play­maker.

This past sum­mer, Wal­ton tagged along with Green to the Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic, New York, Los An­ge­les, Detroit and Green’s home­town of Sag­i­naw, Mich. It was Wal­ton’s job to check bas­ket­balls through air­port se­cu­rity and find gym­na­si­ums wher­ever they landed.

July was de­voted to hon­ing Green’s ball­han­dling and shoot­ing, ev­ery­thing from floaters to three-point­ers. The fo­cus in Au­gust was on get­ting Green con­di­tioned for the start of train­ing camp.

Wal­ton, in his first sea­son as an as­sis­tant coach with the Clippers’ Ga­torade League af­fil­i­ate in San Bernardino County, re­turns home from games and scours the video pro­gram Syn­ergy for clips of each of Green’s shot at­tempts. When Green opened the sea­son 6-for-23 from the field, in­clud­ing 3-for-14 from three-point range, Wal­ton saw no flaws in Green’s shoot­ing mo­tion. In those late-night texts, Wal­ton told Green that shots would start fall­ing soon enough.

“You’ve got to re­al­ize the type of player Dray­mond is,” Du­rant said af­ter Green’s 20-point out­burst Mon­day. “He re­ally works at his shoot­ing. He works at the floaters, the small shots in the lane. He works on that every day, so that al­lows him to come out and play the way he did tonight.”

Green is so re­spected as a passer and de­fender that he was named an All-Star last sea­son de­spite av­er­ag­ing only 10.2 points per game. How­ever, those in­side the or­ga­ni­za­tion rec­og­nize that Golden State is at its best when Green is find­ing shots in the flow of the of­fense. This is a player who went for 32 points in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Fi­nals and shot 50 per­cent from the field as the War­riors swept the first three rounds of the 2017 play­offs.

“When he starts to make shots,” Wal­ton said, “they’re al­most un­guard­able.”

Scott Straz­zante / The Chron­i­cle

Dray­mond Green, be­tween An­dre Iguo­dala (9) and David West, had a sea­son-high 20 points against Or­lando on Mon­day.

Michael Ma­cor / The Chron­i­cle

Dray­mond Green dunks in a 120-117 win over Washington on Oct. 27. Green later mixed it up with the Wizards’ Bradley Beal (3); both play­ers were ejected.

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