26 September 2020

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Draymond Green is the key to the Warriors’ success

Once again, Draymond Green seems to be the center of attention and the talk of the league as some NBA executives have gone as far as to recommend Bob Myers, Golden State’s GM, to trade the former Defensive Player of the Year in order to get another lottery pick. Before going any further, I must state that this is going to be an opinion article where I am going to explain the reasons why I believe the Warriors should hold onto Green for as long as they can. Having said that, let us dive deep into the subject at hand.

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Draymond Jamal Green Sr. is one of the most polarizing players the league has seen in a while, whether its because of his antics on and off the court, his declarations or his playing style, he has always managed to catch the eye of the NBA fans for years. He is as bold as they come and has faced head on all of the challenges that have come his way, from his lack of size for a power forward to all the critics who point at the fact that, when looking at his stat line, nothing really stands out and that he gets lots of undeserved praise from the fans. But, as it has also been stated on multiple occasions, Green’s contributions to the team go far beyond his numbers. He is a leader, the guy who is willing to stand up for any of the guys he plays with and a defensive anchor.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to focus on the basic points in favor of Draymond, as I intend to have people reevaluate their opinions on the three-time NBA champion and that’s not going to happen if I just simply repeat what has been said over and over again. In order to do so, I am going to follow along this lengthy podcast that happened not to long ago featuring legendary players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson as well as the player formerly mentioned, which you should definitely check out.

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One of the biggest points made almost right from the beginning was Green’s age. He has recently turned 30 years old and he is aware of the changes that come with it. He is understands the fact that he isn’t one of the ‘young cats’ anymore, he even was one of the most veteran players in this year’s roster, specially since Curry and Thompson were out for the majority of the season or the entirety in the case of the latter one.

As Draymond said himself, he could have tried to personally improve as a player during this season since the Warriors did not stand a chance of competing this season, specially since having lost Curry early on. But he opted for what I personally believe is a much more mature role, that will have a more positive effect in the organization, which is to focus on the young players. Not only did he focus on helping them improve their game but he also wanted to “help get these guys set up to make the money they want to make in this league” and that shows a lot of maturity from his part. Because he realized that among this new set of players that he was surrounded with there could be some hidden gems or unpolished diamonds that could help the Warriors make another run for the title in the near future, but also because he clearly understands now that there’s much more than basketball and fame due to his age and experience and these newcomers need to bear in mind that there is another life beyond the professional basketball.

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Another key aspect of Draymond Green that has always stand out is his drive and competitiveness, because obviously every player that steps onto the court wants to win, but it is his sheer desperation to always wanting to beat whoever is in front of him that will motivate him to do whatever he can in order to do so. Whether is rebounding the ball better than anybody else, locking up the best player on the opposing team or finding the open man, he will do it and better than most. He is the Warriors defensive anchor, the man usually in charge of pushing the ball on the fast break, the player that is out there reading the defense and trying to get buckets for the others and the voice of the team.

One anecdote he mentioned that speaks volumes about the player and the kind of man he is, is the story between Chris Paul and Steph Curry and how he said to the media that he would take Steph as point guard over any other guy in the league. He said so because he felt, and I agree with him, that former Clippers guard used his relationship with Steph to keep him at distance and remain the best in the league. But, by sharing his opinion in front of the entire world and standing up for his teammate I personally feel he helped elevate Curry’s confidence and, consequently, his game. This role has now translated into being the voice for the entire locker room and always having their back.

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This last point leads us to one of the vital issues discussed in this podcast, the relationship with KD. He regarded Durant as being his “guy” no matter how he felt about him and told his side of the story which not only helps us better understand Kevin’s mentality but also strengthens my point. He said that after the first finals they won together, Durant was sort of mad that he wasn’t regarded as  the best player in the league or wasn’t even taken into consideration, even though he played amazingly well during those series against LeBron James. So, he started to get mad about the little things and “everything became an issue”, meanwhile both Green and Iguodala are playing the intermediate role, trying to keep the team together so they can win another title. Draymond is a firm believer that Kevin only played in that last season with the Warriors because of the chance of three-peating, but he was already “one foot in and one foot out”.  And this was the situation leading up to the big confrontation him and Durant had at the end of the Clippers game. For the rest of the anecdote I encourage you to watch the podcast because it is worth the time, but in conclusion what happened was that Draymond got suspended just to “keep KD happy”.

And after this, the conversation keeps going and one thing that really stuck out to me and believe to be the truth is that, after all this had happened Kevin could have simply told Bob Myers, the Warriors’ GM, I’m not comfortable playing alongside Draymond and I think you should trade him. But most importantly is the comment made by Green afterwards. He would have perfectly understood that because KD is a superstar and he is not. He is important but he will never be “the guy” and he would have not liked leaving the Warriors, but he would have comprehended it.

It’s that understanding of the business side of things that, for me, makes Draymond Green the key to Golden State’s success. He is a student of the game, a deeply knowledgeable player and a hard worker, but what separates him from the rest is his ability to discern what is best for the team, even if that means leaving.

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But Kevin never demanded for Draymond to leave if they wanted him to stay. Why? Because he clearly did not want to be there, because by staying in Golden State he would have never been able to be crowned the best player in the league. He is an extremely sensitive person and he clearly felt disrespected after not even being taken into consideration when discussing who was the best player in the league. Due to all of this, he started to act different, complain about his role and wanted to be the guy that stood out the most from that winning Warriors team, this only lead to internal problems and the dissolution of the famously-known ‘Hamptons Five’.

Because here is the thing, one of the most important tasks in forming a championship-winning team is dealing with egos. And can you guess who has always been in charge of that for Golden State? Draymond Green. He is selfless, he will do anything for his team to win and he will try to do his best at maintaining the team’s chemistry, which is crucial. So, while everyone is wondering which star should the Warriors bring in in order to win another title, people should also consider that they need that piece that makes everything fit and that is none other than Green himself.

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