The Golden State Warriors are struggling and decimated by injuries, so they’re trying something different Sunday night.
According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, the Warriors will start Draymond Green at the point guard position against the New Orleans Pelicans as part of a bigger lineup.
I’m hearing the Warriors are going to start Draymond Green at point guard today in New Orleans. Gives the Warriors a taller, like-sized, switchy group to open game: Draymond, Glenn Robinson, Alec Burks, Eric Paschall, Willie Cauley-Stein.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 17, 2019
Positionless basketball is increasingly prevalent these days, so Green will probably wind up playing different roles. If the implication is that he will wind up being the team’s primary ballhandler, it’s an interesting wrinkle for a team desperately trying to find something that works. Stephen Curry and D’Angelo Russell, who would typically handle such duties, are both injured for at least a few weeks, at least in Russell’s case.
Green insists he has more room to grow as an NBA player. Becoming a competent lead ballhandler would certainly prove him right.
Draymond Green is 29 and in his eighth season in the NBA, and he says he still has room to grow and improve. In fact, Green believes he still has not hit his peak as a basketball player.
Green spoke with ESPN’s Sam Alipour for an article that talked about Green’s business interests owning some fitness gyms in Michigan and the Midwest. In the article, Green said he gave up shots to accommodate the Golden State Warriors’ acquisition of Kevin Durant. While that cost him a role on the team as a scorer, it helped the team win championships, so he says the trade was worth it. But without Durant around, Green has been working on his game and says he is still ascending as a player.
“I’m definitely not at my peak. I have so much room to grow, new heights that I can reach — like becoming a 40% 3-point shooter. That’d be amazing, right? My shooting dropped off the last couple of seasons, but it’s tough when you’re taking only two or three 3s a game. My percentages were a lot higher when I took more,” Green says.
The numbers actually are inconsistent with Green’s claim about his percentages being higher when he takes more threes. In his best season, 2015-2016, Green made 38.8 percent of his threes on 3.2 attempts per game. For his career, he’s made 32.2 percent on threes. And he’s only making 28.6 percent of them this season.
We love Green’s desire to improve and the confidence he expresses in himself, but we doubt his ability to reach this particular goal year-in and year-out.
Congratulations are in order for Draymond Green, who earned a very worthy distinction on Monday night.
Green became the first player ever ejected from Chase Center when he was tossed from the Golden State Warriors-Utah Jazz game in the fourth quarter. Green was upset with being called for a reach-in foul and received two technicals, which triggered the automatic ejection.
The first ejection in Chase Center pic.twitter.com/Lav822D3bu
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 12, 2019
Green was playing his first contest since missing five games due to a finger sprain. He had four points, seven rebounds, and four assists in 22 minutes before being ejected.
The Warriors’ woes continue. They’re now 2-9 following the loss and are 1-5 at their new home in San Francisco. The team has been playing without Steph Curry, who said before the game that he expects to return from a broken hand in the spring.
The relationship between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green never seemed the same following their altercation early last season, and many believe that was a factor in Durant’s decision to leave the Golden State Warriors and sign with the Brooklyn Nets. Now, we can say with certainty that it played a role.
In an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” Thursday, Durant admitted the incident with Green helped push him out the door.
"Definitely. For sure. I'm not gonna lie about it."
–Kevin Durant on if his heated exchange with Draymond Green was a factor in his decision to leave the Warriors
— ESPN (@espn) October 31, 2019
“A little bit, yeah, for sure,” Durant said. “If your teammate talks to you that way, you think about it a bit. We talked about it but definitely, for sure, I’m not gonna lie about it.”
Durant also said he felt the incident could have been avoided, and he believes it is one of the main reasons he was constantly asked about his impending free agency.
Kevin Durant on his relationship with Draymond Green and the incident between the two last season against the Clippers: pic.twitter.com/8xeQ4mFsfD
— First Take (@FirstTake) October 31, 2019
“I wish that wouldn’t have happened. It was a situation that definitely could have been avoided. It really came out of nowhere,” he said. “Everybody was just looking for something to tear us down, and that just brought in the firestorm with every day being about my free agency … it opened up a lot of nonsense that could have been avoided.”
The original reason for the argument probably was not that big of a deal. Durant called out Green for not passing the ball near the end of an eventual overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in November, and the dispute spilled over into the locker room. What really created issues was when Green told Durant the Warriors don’t need him and reminded him that they won before he arrived in Golden State. That is almost certainly what Durant was referring to on “First Take.”
Ironically, the Green who told Durant the Warriors don’t need him is the same Green who supposedly called K.D. to deliver the opposite message after Golden State lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals back in 2016.
It’s possible Durant was going to leave the Warriors in free agency regardless, but his strained relationship with Green may have made the decision easier.
Draymond Green has been listed as 6-foot-7 on his basketball profiles, but that’s changing this season thanks to the league’s crackdown on player heights and ages. Green does not feel his new height of 6-foot-5 is accurate, either.
Green posted a video to his Instagram story on Wednesday that showed him getting his height measured. The Golden State Warriors forward took his shoes off and checked in at just under 78 inches, making him about 6-foot-5 and three quarters.
Draymond Green set the record straight on his real height pic.twitter.com/rV9mtFqbIi
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) October 9, 2019
Green seems to think 6-foot-6 should be his listed height, but that’s only if we’re rounding up.
Either way, long gone are the days of Draymond being 6-foot-7, unless, you know, we’re measuring him with shoes on.
Green’s former Golden State Warriors teammate, Kevin Durant, actually had his height adjusted upwards from 6-foot-9 to 6-foot-10. Green’s height went in the opposite direction.
Draymond Green and Kevin Durant had their differences when they were teammates with the Golden State Warriors, but Kevin isn’t the only member of the Durant family that Green doesn’t get along with. A comment Green left on Durant’s brother’s Instagram page may or may not be evidence of that.
Durant’s brother, Tony, recently had a baby. He shared a photo on Instagram of himself, Kevin and their mother Wanda posing with the new addition, and Green chimed in with a bizarre comment.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 24, 2019
“You talked a lot of bulls— about me … all good doe … This pic brings me great JOY … however this is not the American dream … it’s OUR dream,” Green wrote.
What does that mean? We can only speculate, but it seems like Green is saying Tony is living a nice life only because Kevin has been so successful as a basketball player. As for why Green would feel the need to point that out in a social media post celebrating the arrival of a new baby, it could be because Tony has been critical of Green in the past.
As Eric Ting of SFGate.com reminds us, Tony called out Green after Green’s most public dispute with Kevin last year, when the two got into an argument on the court that spilled over into the locker room. Tony posted some cryptic messages on Instagram that could be interpreted as him saying Green is piggybacking off of the accomplishments of Kevin and others.
Kevin Durant's brother weighs in
(via IG/TDurant) pic.twitter.com/M7NLczRSQQ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 14, 2018
Then, there’s also the fact that Green capitalized the word “JOY” in his comment. When Warriors coach Steve Kerr criticized the team late last season for not playing with more anger and passion, Durant disagreed with Kerr and told the media, “I thought we moved off joy.”
All of this is very petty, of course, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. There seems to be some tension between Durant and a few of his former Warriors teammates — not just Green. That should make for a lot more petty social media activity during the season.
The Golden State Warriors have locked down the last remaining member of their core who didn’t already have a long-term deal in hand.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Warriors and Draymond Green have a greed to a four-year, $100 million max contract extension that will kick in a year from now. Green had been due to become a free agent next summer.
With free agency looming next summer, three-time All-Star Draymond Green has agreed to a four-year, $100M maximum contract extension with Golden State, agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 3, 2019
Green has been a Warrior since entering the league and is clearly happy to stay, especially since he believes the team has more years of championship contention to come. The 29-year-old averaged 7.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game last season, but his usage figures to improve next season with Kevin Durant’s departure and Klay Thompson’s injury. He’s regarded as the emotional heart and soul of the Warriors, and the team knew they had to keep him.