Memphis star Ja Morant is the runaway favorite to win Most Improved Player this season, but Draymond Green is not convinced about his case.
Addressing reporters this weekend, the Golden State veteran Green touched on the Most Improved Player Award and explained why Warriors teammate Jordan Poole, not Morant, should take it home this year.
“The award is called the ‘Most Improved,’ not who had the best year, that’s the MVP award actually,” said Green, per NBC Sports. “I think a lot of times, we get it confused … No disrespect to Ja Morant, but Ja Morant is an MVP candidate. Ja Morant isn’t a ‘Most Improved Player’ candidate. Ja Morant was f–king incredible last year.
“When you look around, the most improvement has been Jordan Poole, and I think that goes without saying,” added Green. “You go across the list, and you show me what those guys did last year and the year before that, and you show me what Jordan did last year and the year before that, he is the most improved. If we’re going by what the title of the award is, what the name of the award is, then it’s easily Jordan.”
Player A: 19.1 points and 7.4 assists per game on 44.9 percent shooting last year, 27.4 points and 6.7 assists per game on 49.3 percent shooting this year
Player B: 12.0 points and 1.9 assists per game on 43.2 percent shooting last year, 18.4 points and 4.0 assists per game on 44.8 percent shooting this year
Player A is Morant, who made the leap this season from a star to a superstar. Player B is Poole, who made the leap this season from a fringe rotation piece to a legitimate secondary option. Both players have done their damage for contending teams as well.
The crux of Green’s argument appears to be that Morant was already an excellent player last season while Poole was barely making an impact. Green will obviously be biased towards his teammate, but he doesn’t really make a convincing claim. After all, this was the season that Morant truly became a box-office draw as well as the leading man for a true title contender. Even with Poole’s admittedly impressive improvement this season, it really can’t compete with the way that Morant’s star has skyrocketed into orbit lately.
Photo: Jan 26, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Despite once striking him in the family jewels and getting suspended from an NBA Finals game for it, Draymond Green has nothing but love for LeBron James.
The Golden State Warriors star Green said this week on an episode of his podcast for The Volume that he plans to be in attendance for the game that James breaks the NBA’s all-time scoring record. Green plans to attend even if the game takes place on the same day that the Warriors are playing.
Draymond Green said if the Warriors have a game the same day LeBron becomes the All-Time leading scorer
“Congrats to LeBron, second [leading scorer of] all-time,” said Green. “Probably in 50 more games or so, 50 or 70 games or so he’ll be first all-time. And I can’t wait to see that.
“Steve Kerr, I’m throwing this out there right now,” Green added. “If LeBron James is passing the all-time scoring record and we have a game, I’m going to LeBron’s game and witness[ing] history.”
James, who currently has 36,985 career points, just surpassed Karl Malone for second all-time on the NBA’s scoring list. That places James 1,402 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,387. If James averages about 25 points per game the rest of the way, he will surpass Abdul-Jabbar in roughly 55 more games, potentially as soon as next season.
The point will be moot if the Warriors are off on the day James goes for the record. But Green’s comments almost make us want to root for a scheduling conflict. Will Green be listed as out for personal reasons if he misses a game just to watch James break the record? Will he be fined by the league? What if James comes up a point or two short of the record and forces Green to come back on the next night as well? These are the questions we have.
In spite of their rivalry on the court, James and Green are friends as well as business partners. Green also recently stood up for James in a notable way. Now he is planning something even more notable to be there for James if or when The King makes sports history.
Draymond Green’s mood was about as bad as his three-point percentage after their latest loss.
The Golden State Warriors had a terrible showing on Tuesday, falling 94-90 to the Orlando Magic, who are the NBA’s Bad News Bears this year. Golden State got outscored by 13 points in the fourth quarter and shot just 40 percent from the field overall as a team.
After the game, Green let his team hear it during his press conference.
“We’re playing soft,” said Green, per Anthony Slater of the Mercury News. “We’re playing stupid. We’re just not playing good basketball. We’re getting punked. It’s kinda hard winning a game getting punked, and that’s kinda where we are right now.
“No disrespect to the Orlando Magic, but that’s one of the worst teams in the league,” he added. “We can’t matchup with them. So if you can’t matchup with them, you’re definitely not going to do it against the great teams.”
To be fair, the Warriors were without Steph Curry, who could miss the rest of the regular season with his foot injury. The team has also gotten only two games this season with their core guys of Curry, Green, and Klay Thompson all in the lineup together at once. But Tuesday’s loss was Golden State’s third in a row and might have been the ugliest loss of the year since the Magic do indeed have one of the worst records in the NBA at 20-53.
The No. 3 seed in the Western Conference is quickly slipping out of reach for the Warriors, and they are now just two games in front of the fourth-seeded Utah Jazz to boot. That has to be especially frustrating for Green too since the team’s performance is making his recent comments age pretty poorly.
Green revealed that Curry would have to show up to an upcoming Warriors game dressed as Sparty, Michigan State’s mascot, if MSU beat Davidson.
“There will be some good bets, there will be a monetary bet, there will be a bet with Steph Curry walking into the game in the Sparty costume,” Green said, per MassLive. “Not just my jersey, not just a Michigan State T-Shirt, he will come to the game as the Michigan State mascot. Sparty, that’s what it’s going to be.”
Alas, Green spoke the cosplay into existence as Michigan State ended up beating Davidson 74-73. Green expressed his glee afterwards on Instagram.
Draymond won the bet ‼️
"Steph, we will see you showing up soon with that Sparty costume on" 🤣
Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green appears to be reaching for Charles Barkley’s guarantee button.
Green made his return to the lineup on Tuesday against the Washington Wizards after missing over two months with a back injury. The Warriors prevailed by a 126-112 final score.
After the game, Green was feeling pretty good about the team’s chances with him back in the lineup. Upon getting asked about the Warriors’ mindset as they try to lock up the No. 2 seed in the West, Green had a bold prediction.
“Obviously, the 2 seed will be great, but we’re not chasing it,” said Green. “We’re gonna make sure we do everything we can to stay healthy coming down the stretch. We’re not gonna make any boneheaded decisions trying to chase the 2 seed. Whether we’re the 2 seed or the 3 seed, we’re going to win a championship, so it don’t really matter.”
The Warriors are currently tied with the Memphis Grizzlies at 47-22 in the standings. Memphis is ahead 2-1 in the season series, but the two teams will meet again on March 28. Regardless, both the No. 2 seed and No. 3 seed will manage to avoid the NBA-best Phoenix Suns’ side of the playoff bracket.
With Green out, the Warriors went 16-13. With Green in the lineup though (including Tuesday’s win), Golden State is 31-9 this season. Klay Thompson is finding his groove again too, and Steph Curry is still Steph Curry, putting an NBA title within reach for the Warriors. But with this bold prediction, Green seems to be taking a page out of head coach Steve Kerr’s book.
Los Angeles Lakers fans appear to be getting on the nerves of one of their star players.
The Lakers faithful showered the team with boos during their blowout loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green responded by unloading on the fans, calling them “spoiled” and “bratty.”
Lakers star Anthony Davis seemed to agree with Green’s position. Davis “liked” an Instagram post about Green’s comments ripping Lakers fans.
Davis is currently in the midst of another lengthy absence due to a severe right ankle sprain. since arriving in 2019. He has taken plenty of criticism from Lakers fans due to his injury-prone nature.
While Davis might not appreciate all the heat that he personally has gotten, it is hard to blame the Crypto.com Arena crowd for booing the product that is out on the floor right now. Even with Davis sidelined, the Lakers still have four future Hall of Famers playing in LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard. They also entered the season with title expectations. Now though, the Lakers are getting beaten down on their home floor almost every single night, are displaying some really lousy body language while getting thrashed, and are in danger of missing the play-in tournament altogether. Lakers fans might take it way overboard sometimes, but they actually seem to be well within their rights to be booing these days.
The Los Angeles Lakers have not given their fans many things to cheer about this season, but Draymond Green does not think that gives them an excuse to boo one of the best players in NBA history.
Lakers fans have booed their on team on numerous occasions this year, most recently during Sunday night’s blowout loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Some of those boos came when LeBron James turned the ball over with a bad pass late in the third quarter. The Lakers were trailing by 19 at the time.
Green was disgusted by the fan reaction. During the latest episode of his podcast, the Golden State Warriors star unloaded on Lakers fans and called them “spoiled brats.” He said the booing was “extremely pathetic.”
“Let’s not be like spoiled brats. It’s okay to be spoiled. You can 100 percent be spoiled, we all get spoiled by things at times at one point in our life or another, but let’s not be brats,” Green said, as transcribed by Sports Illustrated’s Joey Linn. “That was about as bratty as something I’ve seen. Considering that this team just won a championship not even a full two years ago. And now you’re booing? I thought it was utterly ridiculous.”
For what it’s worth, LeBron seemed just as disgusted with his team’s performance on Sunday as the fans were. He showed that with one of his patented moves after the game. Though, he may have also been aggravated with the fans.
Fans have every right to boo. Most of them paid good money for tickets and expect a quality product, especially from a team like the Lakers. LeBron probably appreciates the support from Green, but he knows he and his teammates have deserved the boos. What they did two years ago really doesn’t matter to this year’s paying customers.
Rudy Gobert is taking some time to respond to the Frank Grimes of his life.
Speaking with reporters on Friday, the Utah Jazz center was asked about all of the shots that Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has taken at him recently.
“It’s just noise to me,” replied Gobert, per Dana Greene of KTVX in Utah. “If anything, when people keep talking about you, targeting you in some way, it means you’re doing something right. I’m just gonna keep trying to be the best Rudy I can be on and off the court and for my team.
“The more these people try to discredit what I do or what my team does, it just means we’re doing something right,” Gobert added. “The more noise, the harder it becomes to take these people seriously. It’s unfortunate that when you have that big of a platform, you use it to just entertain a crowd. It doesn’t make anyone look good to talk down on somebody else. When you’re great at what you do, you don’t need to talk down on anybody. We recognize you for who you are and what you do. So that’s my mindset. It’s just noise.”
Gobert and Green are Western Conference rivals as well as two of the best individual defensive players in the NBA today. While it does not appear that Gobert did anything specifically to anger Green, for some reason, Green has taken many shots at Gobert in recent weeks, including at the All-Star Game.
Photo: Feb 24, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) warms up before the game against the Phoenix Suns at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
“The one thing, when I look back on it, that bothers me is I would’ve been the Finals MVP,” said Green. “And that totally changes the narrative. Good luck leaving me off the NBA 75 if I was Finals MVP. Good luck even having a debate if I’m a Hall of Famer or not if I was Finals MVP.
“When I look back on that from a selfish standpoint, which I rarely do, I would have been Finals MVP and that changes the course of everything,” Green added.
You may recall that Green was suspended for Game 5 of that series against the Cleveland Cavaliers for striking LeBron James in the groin region. The Warriors were leading 3-1 at the time, but Green’s suspension completely flipped the momentum of the Finals and allowed the Cavs to come back to win. Green also had 16.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game in the series, putting him in the mix for Finals MVP if the Warriors had won.
Of course, there were many Finals MVP winners who did not make the NBA 75 team, including Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker, Joe Dumars, and Cedric Maxwell. Additionally, Green, though he is a three-time NBA champion and Defensive Player of the Year, lacks the singular excellence that many of the NBA 75 players had. On the bright side for Green though, at least his suspension in the 2016 Finals worked out well in at least one way.
Draymond Green has never been shy about speaking his mind, even when it comes to difficult relationships with teammates. One of his former teammates in particular holds a grudge against him, or so he thinks.
Green said on the latest episode of his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show,” that former Warriors forward Harrison Barnes still resents him for recruiting Kevin Durant to Golden State. Durant’s arrival led to Barnes being traded to the Dallas Mavericks.
“Harrison Barnes, I think to this day don’t like me for KD coming here,” Green said, via Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area. “And the reality is, I didn’t tell [Warriors GM Bob Myers] to trade you to bring KD in. … He took it very personally because of that story that came out that I cried to KD in the car. He took it very personally at me. This dude invites Steph, Klay, everybody to his wedding except me.
“I didn’t take it personally ’cause it is what it is. … It sucks that you got traded but you went and made your money.”
Barnes did win a championship with Golden State in 2015 and was a part of their 73-win season in 2016. After that, though, he had to watch from afar as the Warriors won back-to-back championships with Durant in the fold. There were definitely some signs that he wasn’t thrilled with how his Warriors tenure ended, though we don’t really know whether he actually blames Green for that.