Today I will introduce a special NBA jersey, the Golden State Warriors Nike Dri-FIT Youth Chinese Heritage ‘The Bay’ Draymond Green #23 Swingman Jersey. That is Chinese style of 2018 Chinese zodiac. Warriors forward Draymond Green shook his head after hearing the question. Will he play differently to avoid collecting his 16th technical foul and a subsequent one-game suspension without pay?
“Nope,” Green said following the Warriors’ 109-103 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday. “Did I look different?”
Green did not bark at the officials during Sunday’s game. He even restrained Warriors forward Kevin Durant from mouthing off over calls, something Green said he has “been doing for a while now.”
Another thing Green has done for a while now: playing with passion and emotion to spark his team. He has had mixed success in doing that without expressing his displeasure toward the referees both over fouls against him and silent whistles for him.
Green collected his 15th technical of the season during the Warriors’ loss to Portland on Friday, giving him minimal wiggle room for the Warriors’ remaining 15 games. Another technical means Green would miss a possibly critical game both for the Warriors’ playoff readiness and any chance of having the Western Conference’s best record. The Warriors (51-16) are currently a game behind the Houston Rockets (51-14) for the No. 1 seed. Houston also holds a tie breaker after winning two of its three regular-season matchups against Golden State.
Kerr shrugged about those consequences.
“It’s his competitive spirit, his drive, his passion, those things are far more important to me than maybe he misses one game,” Kerr said. “Draymond is at his best when he’s playing with that chip on his shoulder. A subdued Draymond is not an optimum Draymond.”
After Steph Curry tweaked his right ankle early in the first quarter of the Warriors game against San Antonio on Thursday, Draymond Green knew he needed to do something.
“A guy goes down, I’m one of the All-Stars on this team, it’s my responsibility to step up,” Green said.
So he pitched in everywhere, getting team-highs in rebounds (12) and assists (10), while scoring 11 points, playing smothering defense and also getting two steals and two blocked shots in the Warriors’ 110-107 win. It was his third triple-double of the season.
“It’s just what he does,” Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr said. “He seems to be at his best when things go wrong for us and we have to have that fight. He’s one of the most competitive people I’ve ever been around and when he gets going like that defensively and he’s all over the floor blocking shots, getting steals, yelling — That’s when we’re at our best.”
Kerr decided to put Green on LaMarcus Aldridge in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. Green took that assignment as a personal challenge.
“Everybody in the gym knows who they’re going to,” Green said. “For me, I want to stop him so we can win the game. But also, I don’t want to be embarrassed because I know everyone is watching that matchup.”
Green threw Aldridge off his game down the stretch, holding the Spurs’ superstar forward, who had a team-high 30 points, to just six points in the fourth quarter.
“I think when coach switched our coverage up on Aldridge, they were getting a lot of layups off the double team,” Kevin Durant said. “Once we switched it up, Draymond fought him every time, made him shoot tough shots, made him pass the ball out for a pick-and-roll. There were five or six seconds left on the shot clock sometimes when he was trying to get into his move and he was able to close the paint up. He did a lot for us on that end because they were going to Aldridge every time. When he’s aggressive like that on both ends, making passes, just playing with force, we’re a great team.”
Green, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, is a three-time All-Star who has managed to become a superstar even though he does the things that often go unnoticed on the court, such as pass, play defense and rebound.
He’s averaging 11.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.4 assists a game. Green has a franchise-leading 22 triple-doubles over his six-year career. The Warriors are 22-0 in those games.
So even though he doesn’t put up 20-plus points a game, when he saw Curry go down, he knew it was on him to make the difference.
“Not necessarily take the game over, but just try to control the pace of the game, try to make sure we’re solid, try to be better defensively, try to lead the guys even better,” Green said. “When you have a guy like Steph go down, it changes everything. So I just tried to be better in every facet of the game.”
So Green did it all, in every corner of the court, once again showing why he’s one of the brightest superstars in the game even though he does his work in the shadows.
“I just try to take over in the ways that I can,” Green said.
Luckily for the Warriors, that’s everywhere.