Draymond Green is often called the heartbeat of the Golden State Warriors. He brings infectious energy, fierce passion, determination, and toughness to every Warriors game. In addition to his enthusiasm on the court, he brings the same energy off the court…and in interviews.
Jonathan Abrams of Grantland recently wrote an article about Green and his road to the NBA, the success of the Warriors this season, his toughness, and trash talking.
Green is talkative, in interviews and on the court. Warriors fans love his “I won’t stand down” attitude, but some might see him as somewhat of a trash talker, perhaps a more modern Kevin Garnett. Abrams included several quotes from some of Green’s teammates on his trash talking:
“He talks sh** to everybody,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
“He’s talking to us, himself, the coach, the other bench,” Thompson said.
“If you’re having a conversation about potato chips, then he’s going to make sure his opinion [is] heard,” Iguodala added.
That attitude has made him a Golden State crowd favorite and injected the Warriors with a badly needed strain of toughness. At home games, when Green is introduced with the starting lineup, the applause for him rivals the cheers for MVP front-runner Curry.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m arrogant,” Green said. “I’m just confident. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m an ass****. I just don’t take no sh**. And I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m disrespectful. You’ve just got to earn my respect.”
Not only is Green is an experienced trash talker, but he’s also extremely experienced with trash talking with the Los Angeles Clippers players and about their team. Green has some history with Clippers players, such as Dahntay Jones and Blake Griffin, but Green’s trash talking about the Clippers is fueled by the rivalry.
The Warriors’ rivalry with the Clippers became even stronger when they faced each other in the playoffs last season. In fact, Green is still bitter about the Warriors’ loss to the Clippers in Game Seven of the first round of the playoffs last season.
Here’s what Green had to say about the Clippers:
And Green’s animosity toward the Clippers hasn’t dissipated one bit. This season, he’s had notable altercations with Blake Griffin, Dahntay Jones, and Doc Rivers.
“They have a cocky arrogance, like they’ve won something, and they haven’t done nothing,” Green said. “They pretty much been to the same spot in the playoffs we’ve been to. But they have this cockiness like you’re supposed to bow down to them. They ain’t proved nothing. They ain’t earned nothing. What respect have you earned?”
But couldn’t any Clippers player say the same thing about Green?
“I wouldn’t say that, because I don’t expect anybody to bow down to me,” Green said. “Nor do I expect you to respect me. I’m going to earn your respect. When it’s all said and done, you’ll respect me and our team.”
In addition to trash talking and the Clippers, Green even spoke about one of his former teammates: Jeremy Tyler. Now that’s a blast from the past. In case some Warriors fans don’t know who Tyler is, here’s a quick synopsis.
Tyler was an intriguing high school basketball player who decided to play overseas in Israel during his senior year of high school and then in Japan after deciding not to go to college. After that, the Warriors acquired his draft rights, after the Charlotte Bobcats selected him with the 39th pick in the 2011 Draft. Tyler failed to make an impact on the Warriors, and since then, he has failed to stick with an NBA team. He now plays in China.
Warriors fans haven’t had to hear Tyler’s name in quite some time, thankfully, but hearing Green’s story about Tyler makes it worth hearing his name again. Here’s the story:
The Warriors have a system of assigning rookies to veteran teammates, who serve as mentors. Mark Jackson, the Warriors coach when Green was drafted, linked the rookie with Jeremy Tyler, who had joined the team a year earlier in 2011. In many ways, Tyler and Green were opposites. Tyler, a 6-10 center, had been a basketball prodigy, ranked near the top of his recruiting class since he was in his early teens. Tyler skipped not only college, but also his senior year of high school to play two unfulfilling seasons overseas. Even though Green was a rookie in 2012-13, he was still older than Tyler.
Before long, Green sought the guidance of more seasoned Warriors players. He and Tyler remain friends, but Green doesn’t regret his decision to forge ties with other players. “Jarrett Jack was my vet. Carl Landry, Jermaine O’Neal,” Green said, mentioning former Warriors who taught him how to establish himself in the league. “[Tyler] didn’t fit that mold. He still had a lot of immaturities about himself that just didn’t scream ‘my vet.’ Maybe he was somebody else’s vet, but couldn’t have been mine.”
In the interview with Abrams, Green spoke at length about Jermaine O’Neal and how much of an impact O’Neal’s veteran leadership and toughness had on Green’s development. Both O’Neal and Green have a lot in common, as they both play with energy and passion on the court, and they also are tough defenders.
Green has this unique ability to guard all five positions. He can also defend pick-and-rolls, he can defend on the post, he provides consistent help defense, and he, of course, can defend one-on-one on the perimeter or in the paint.
The Warriors have been much better defensively the past few seasons because of Green’s versatility but also because of Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala. In a separate interview with Monte Poole of Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, Green spoke about these two players and how he believes the Warriors should have three players on the All-Defensive Team:
“I think we should have three guys on the All-Defensive team,” Green said Thursday, after the morning shootaround. “Our defensive numbers speak for (themselves). Guys’ individual numbers on the defensive end, as well. So we’ll see what happens. But we’re not a team that’s doing what we do for individual awards. Whatever happens with that stuff happens.”
Green has forged a path in the NBA with his defense but also by overcoming obstacles and exceeding expectations. In the process, he’s proven people wrong and continued to have that underdog mentality.
One of the first obstacles he had to overcome was being drafted in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Here’s what Green had to say about being a second-round draft pick in the interview for Grantland:
“The Warriors had the 30th pick,” he said. “They could have picked me. People would have never said, ‘Draymond was the 30th pick.’ They’ll just say he was a first-rounder. But they never go back and say, ‘Well, he was only five picks out of the first round.’ They’ll just say he was a second-rounder, and that fits my story better than me being a first-rounder, because I’ve always had to prove myself. As frustrating as it’s been at times, [the first round] just didn’t fit my story.”
Green discussed his past in this interview, but what is his future with Warriors? He could be receiving a potentially large contract extension soon, and Green, in addition to Warriors general manager Bob Myers. spoke about this with Abrams:
“We really like him,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said. “We believe he’s a core member of our team and we believe he’s a big part of our future.” Green said he has stopped thinking about his next contract and how much money he’ll soon make. “I figured it would take care of itself when it’s time,” Green said. “July 1 ain’t coming no sooner than it’s going to come, whether I sit here and worry about it or just let it happen. And honestly, the more you worry, the longer it’s going to feel like.”
Green is a key part of the Warriors’ future. His toughness, his defense, and his underdog mentality are highly valued and appreciated by the Warriors. We’ll see if these qualities lead him to a hefty contract extension.
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